The class struggle
during the thirties in the
The purges of the CPSU and the political trials.
The purges of, or expulsions from, the Soviet communist party and the
political trials in
Facts about the 1930-ies.
But let us begin by providing the reader a picture of the Soviet
1930-ies, as a matter of fact a decisive decade in the history of the
During the 1930-ies production in the
During the 1930-ies the cultural development of the
The development of the communist party.
During the 1930-ies millions of new members entered the CPSU(b) and took part in the struggle for production and social development. This great influx of people and the huge increase in production which took place were not only beneficial. The party was obliged to evaluate the party- and social work of old and new members and expel or purge those who did not attain a good enough level for communists. This process did not have a given end. The struggle against bureaucracy, corruption, opportunism and abuse of power within the party and state was carried out in many different ways during the thirties, and it was not always successful or devoid of errors. The socialist society presupposes discussion and criticism to correct mistakes and find new ways. But the purges were important for reasons of external policy too.
During the 1930-ies the external threat against the
The rise of the
According to the bourgeois myths the purges were a bloody
persecution of those criticising the regime, whereby a power hungry bureaucracy
made use of an extensive administrative and violent apparatus with the most
cruel methods to literally kill off a progressive opposition, yes even an
opposition harbouring –according to the same historians– the “genuine”
socialists and communists. Behind the persecutions there was of course Stalin
with his alleged suspicions and morbid behaviour. Stalin who, according to the
bourgeoisie, had a long ranging plan for killing all opponents and all old
Bolsheviks in order to grip the whole power himself. That is how the purges and
political trials of the thirties have been described during decades by
bourgeois historians and cultural personalities. But that mere fact, that the
same bourgeoisie which in their own countries register, persecute, imprison and
execute communists, accuse the socialist Soviet Union for persecuting the
“real” communists, shows that not is all as it appears to be. The bourgeois
historians lie, and that is what we shall prove. But it is in fact even worse.
Since 1945 they have been in possession of material proving that the conditions
Facts about the purges, the development of the production and the
political trials are elements in the history of the Soviet communist party, and
like much else they can be found in the archives of the party. Those archives
have been closed to foreign researchers up until 1989, when Gorbachov changed
it. There is an exception however. An extensive archive material reached the
West and the
The archive material never got a first page position in Western mass
media. The reason is that the political life in the Western region of Soviet
Union as reported in the
New facts for own conclusions.
The research of Getty has destroyed some myths and lies
Remember then, that most of the thirties in the
“Origins of the Great Purges”.
Both books by Getty are among the literature forming the basis for
this brochure. Origins of the Great
Purges is in contrast with the later The
Road to Terror a book replete with statistics and other things giving a
true picture of the society. Already the introduction makes you astonished. We
are not used to hearing professors talking frankly. In any case not Swedish
professors. Professor Arch Getty establishes in the introduction that research
First, the results of research show that the political events during
the thirties were not “a unified phenomenon (the Great Purges), which can be
studied as a process…planned, prepared, and carried out” by Stalin and his most
intimate men. Second, the research shows that the allegation that “the Old
Bolsheviks of Lenin’s (and Stalin’s) generation were the purges’ target”
has no relationship with reality. Further, Getty confirms that it is time to
review what has been taught about the
This is clear talk, which does not lend itself to writing by a
researcher and professor of history unless there is very strong evidence. Not
least as this is in direct contradiction with Fainsod’s book “
It is not just the case that the book by Getty removes the support
from under all cheap falsifiers of history. Getty calls in question Fainsod’s
We shall present Arch Getty’s facts about the purges of the 1930-ies. Moreover, we shall draw our own political conclusions from Getty’s statistics. Let us start by giving the reader a short background about the situation in the Soviet Communist party during the 1920-ies.
After the victory of the revolution, when the Communist party had become the ruling party, the party leadership and Lenin had to acknowledge that some unwelcome elements had penetrated into the party and state apparatus. They were people who wanted to make a career via a membership in the party. At the eighth party conference in December of 1919 Lenin brought this problem up. According to Lenin it was “It is natural, on the one hand, that all the worst elements should cling to the ruling party merely because it is the ruling party”. For that reason it was important to evaluate the contribution of the party members. On the proposal of Lenin, the party carried out a re-registration of all party members. Every member had to answer for his actions in front of the member collective – those who were considered unreliable were excluded. That was the first purification of the party apparatus. This method, to strengthen the party by purging the opportunistic elements, was to characterise the Communist party for many years to come.
The general criteria for the purging of party members were corruption, passivity, breaches of party discipline, alcoholism, criminality and anti-Semitism. For bourgeois individuals and kulaks who hid their class origin expulsion was certain. (But not for those who had been accepted into the party and who had admitted their class background.) For the former tsarist officers who hid their past were also inevitably expelled. All those who had been expelled could in their turn appeal to the Central control commission, and then their cases were reviewed at a higher level.
As we shall se later, a relatively high number got their party membership back. The decisions at the general meetings with hundreds of members were, as a rule, more rigid than those at the party centre. The Central Committee of the party, which had initiated the purges and decided their forms, tried first to make the members at the base level to speak out and clamp down on corrupt functionaries and their companions.
This turned out to be a difficult work. Corrupt bureaucrats knew thousands of tricks to escape criticism and tricky situations. Instead, the majority of those expelled were base level members who often could not defend themselves against the accusations by the party secretaries for passivity, political ignorance or bad drinking habits.
The purges during the 1920-ies.
After the re-registration of 1919 Lenin and the party leadership found that there were still considerable shortcomings in the party. The re-registration had not achieved its aim. A great number of new members continued to be drawn into the party without consideration to the directive of electing only workers and reliable elements from other classes. New purges took place 1921, 1928 and 1929.
In the table below we can see the proportion of members, in per cent, who were expelled on these occasions. During the other years the expulsion of party members could vary between three and five per cent.
Great party purges during the 1920-ies
(Getty: Origins of the Great Purges)
per cent expelled
1919 re-registration 10-15
1921 purges 25
1928 revision in 7 regions 13
1929 purges 11
In relation to the purges of 1929, there is a detailed description
of the causes. It does in fact provide a good information and does away with at
least myth – that the purges would have
been a way to get rid of opposing elements within the party. In 1929, 1.53
million party members went through the process of purges. Of these approx.
170,000 or 11 per cent were expelled. When they appealed to the Central control
commission 37,000 got their party membership back (22 per cent of those
The party purge of 1929
(Getty: Origins of the Great Purges)
Reasons for expulsion per cent
Defects in personal conduct 22
Alien elements or connection thereto 17
Criminal offences 12
Violations of party discipline 10
According to Getty, those expelled for political reasons – “fractional” or oppositional activity – were among the ones expelled for “violation of party discipline”. The former constitute 10 per cent of these 10 per cent. Thus, the expulsions for political reasons were not more than one per cent of all expulsions which took place in the purges of 1929. Compare this to the prevailing myth about the “Stalinists eliminating all those in opposition”. Moreover, the bourgeoisie always alleges, that those expelled met a certain death either in the work camps of the Gulag or just disappeared. Reality is something else. Of those expelled, only those caught with criminal acts – theft, embezzlement, blackmail, sabotage or similar – who were tried at court. For the other expelled, life continued as usual, but now without the obligations which accompanied a membership but also without the support which membership did give.
The purges in the CPSU(b) during the 1930-ies.
Let us now pass to the
It is important to expose the falsifiers of history. They use people’s ignorance to make those sympathising with socialism defensive and to make Communists dissociate themselves from their history.
Robert Conquest has had a central role in the defamation of
socialism and the
Conquest’s best known work “The Great Terror – Stalin’s Purges of
the Thirties” was published in 1968 and has been one of the foremost weapons
against socialism used by the bourgeoisie. The book is partly based on material
from Conquest’s time with the British secret service. His sources originate
among very suspicious circles: Nazi collaborators, defectors and terrorists.
Bourgeois historians have elevated Conquest’s gross falsifications to
historical facts and willingly repeated his stories in periodicals and books.
That is, for example, what the senior lecturer Peter Englund has done in
Moderna Tider in February
During the 1930-ies the party underwent three great purges: 1933, 1935 and 1937-1938.
The first purge 1933 took part in a clime of great enthusiasm in society when the agricultural cooperatives spread all over the Soviet Union with great steps forward, and the industrial production attained results never before seen. The party had opened its doors for all who wanted to fight for socialism and hundreds of thousands new members had been elected during the first three years of the 1930-ies. Because of the great onslaught, the party leadership considered it to be a necessity to evaluate the new party members. They were seeking for opportunists, corrupt bureaucrats, criminals, anti-Semites, alcoholics or members violating party discipline.
The party directives clarified that the purges should take place in a comradely atmosphere not allowing any deep digging into people’s private lives. Moreover, the party leadership encouraged base members to be openly critical against the local bureaucrats and warned the local party leaderships against expelling base members for passivity or political ignorance. The mistakes of 1929 were not to be repeated. Attention should be paid to the general development of members and in those cases it was deemed necessary party members could be degraded to candidates or sympathisers until they had improved their political knowledge or increased their participation in the activities of the party. Expulsion should be avoided as far as possible.
In spite of the directives, the purge of 1933 turned out differently
from what the Central Committee had intended. In a country so vast as the
The expulsions of 1933
(Getty: Origins of the Great Purges)
Reason for expulsion per cent
Moral corruption, careerist, bureaucrat 17,5
Alien elements / hiding alien past 16,5
Violation of party discipline 20.9
Not mentioned in “Origins of the Great Purges” 4.0
The purge of 1933, which was terminated in the middle of 1934,
revealed a serious contradiction within the party. The Central Committee wanted
to throw out thieves and corrupt bureaucrats, but the biggest group expelled –
in fact almost one fourth – were expelled for passivity. Passivity did not
figure among the party directives as a criterion for expulsion. With the
assistance of bureaucratic methods or authority gained for earlier merits,
local party leaders whatever they wanted without paying attention to the
directives of the Central Committee. The extension of the antagonisms is
implied by the one fourth expelled for passivity. The Central Committee had to
do something about the local party leaders contravention of the party
directives, but as the future was to show, it was not very easy. This became
very timely during the following years when the
Another aspect of the statistics found by Getty concerns the allegation by Conquest and other rightists that the purge of 1933 was organised to throw out old Bolsheviks – old party cadres from the days of Lenin – who had come into opposition with Stalin. According to Getty, the allegation is improbable. The great majority by far of those expelled, two thirds in fact, had entered the party after 1928 and were for that reason to be considered relatively new party members. The distribution of those expelled as 23 per cent agricultural workers/farmers, 14.6 per cent civil servants and approx. 62 per cent workers shows, that the overwhelming majority, 85 per cent, were ordinary working men rather than party cadres from Lenin’s time. In The Great Terror Robert Conquest touches upon the purge of 1933 and hints that over a million members were expelled for political reasons. If one has knowledge of the history of the purges, it becomes evident that Conquest’s allegation is a lie.
The purge of 1933 revealed a very serious disorder in the party organisation all over the country. The party membership list did not correspond to reality: In may parts of the country the number of members did not tally with the number in the lists. Many members moved, left the party, were expelled or died without it being noted in the membership lists. The local party secretaries were absorbed by the financial work with the five year plan and the collectivisation. For that reason or for pure negligence or lack of interest that did not care to have the membership lists updated. As a consequence of this there was a great disorder in the party financial accounts. When this was discovered and the party central got a total picture of the disastrous situation with the membership cards it became clear that a revision of the party cards of all members was a must.
In October 1934 the Central Committee decided that the whole party would undergo a new registration of the party members. The Central Committee sent representatives to the party regions of the country both to examine the true situation of the party documentation and, if possible, to demand a solution while assisting the work of registration.
Comrade Ostrovskij was sent to the city committee (gorraikom) of
As it soon turned out, the problems were too big for Ostrovskij to handle. The same experience was made by Central Committee representatives in many parts of the country. Towards the end of April 1935 very little had been achieved of the new registration. A report from the city Committee of Smolensk showed that “in the process of investigation of party documents, were revealed a series of massive deficiencies, demanding an especially careful working out and verification”.
The Communist party in the beginning of the 1930-ies.
For readers of this brochure this may appear hard to understand. The bourgeois media have brought up most people in the Western world to believe that a totally blind discipline reigned in the Soviet Communist party, whereby everything and everybody were registered and controlled carefully, preferably several times on long name lists – nobody could escape this all pervading control, which allegedly went on continuously in the society and which furthermore would have cost masses of money while investing party bureaucrats with extensive power.
This picture is entirely false. As a matter of fact, one gets much closer to the truth by turning all these allegations upside down. Absorbed, as they were, in the struggle for production and drunk by the incredible production results which had set repeated world records, many local party secretaries ignored other party matters. They considered production results to be the most important thing which would solve all problems and everything else was peanuts. Even such a fundamental question for a party – and especially a party in power – namely that only party members should own a party card, was considered in many places as a question of secondary interest only. The party cards were, as a rule, kept in an ordinary writing desk a or a cupboard easily accessible in the party facility, and they did disappear too in their thousands all over the country. In the same irresponsible manner, party cards were handed out to all who said they had lost theirs. Mostly, no investigation was carried out what had become of the card lost. Even members who had been expelled retained their party cards, nobody demanded them back . When it came to deceased members, the families did not, as a rule, return the card to the party, which oftentimes resulted in the card of the deceased person to be used for misuse and corruption. The production results, which were so overwhelming, made the local party leaders convinced that there would soon be such surpluses as to sweep away all other difficulties.
Two hundred thousand party cards on the spree.
In the beginning of 1935 the Central Committee had to conclude that more than 200,000 party cards were out on the spree! Most had been given to people who had lost their party cards or had had them stolen. More than 1,000 new, unused cards had been stolen in the party facilities and 47,000 party cards had been given people who had not had time to get registered in the party. The party card was an important document. A person with a party card could i.a. enter all party facilities everywhere in the country, where significant documents were kept and important meetings took place. For that reason, the party cards were attractive items for enemies, spies, oppositional elements and foreign agents. All the worse it was then, as it turned out, that these people had little difficulties in acquiring a party card to the Communist party, which they could use to protect there undermining activities. In the year of 1935 the situation was such that it was not at all self-evident that there was a faithful and loyal party member behind a party card. It could in fact just as well be an enemy, a spy or a saboteur.
On 13 May, 1935 the Central Committee decided that a new, national control of the party documents – “proverka” – should take place. The control of the party cards was led centrally by a commission in the secretariat of the Central Committee led by Ezhov and, as his deputy, Malenkov. The control meant that each party member was to interrogated by the party secretary in that community or that working place concerning his life, history, work and other things; facts which were used to up-date the party registers. If there was any irregularity, a closer scrutiny of the person concerned was carried out, and in the meantime the party card was revoked. Those who could not confirm their party membership were expelled and the party card was taken back. All those who had been expelled had, according to the party statutes, the right to appeal to a higher instance, which was supposed to carry out a new investigation and make a new decision within two weeks.
It was time to “to introduce Bolshevik order in our own party house”. The Central Committee addressed itself especially to the local party leaders, the real cause of the disorder: “the Central Committee warns leaders of party organisations from primary to region, that if they do not provide … leadership for this important task … and immediately restore order in this important business, then the Central Committee VKP(b) will take measures of strict party penalty up to and including the question of expelling them from the party”.
Contrary to earlier purges, in the control of the party cards 1935 there were no particular political or social reasons, which could result in an expulsion. 1935 the only thing valid was whether the party card was authentic or not. This should be noted. In the bourgeois propaganda there is a lot of talk of the control of 1935 as part of a campaign of purging oppositional elements from the party leadership. The allegation is totally false. We return to this question later in the text.
Which was the result of the control of the party cards?
It turned out that, many of the local party secretaries, does who were responsible for the control, did not take the task very seriously. They did not attribute to the task the priority which the Central Committee had demanded. Reports started to flow in to the Central Committee showing that there was a general tendency to carry out a quick control to have it done with. Often, the commitment of local party secretaries was practically zero. The problems of the Western region were noticeable. The second party secretary of the region A.L. Shil’man and the local head of the control commission, Kiselev, were publicly severely criticised by the Central Committee as an example of how the work with card control should not be done. The party secretary Stepanov, leader of a district in the Western region, was expelled from the party. He had done the party card control in his district by devoting at the most five minutes per member to investigate the authenticiy of the membership. The Central Committee demanded personal commitment in this very important question, but the party secretary only thought of showing high percentages of how many he had managed to control and how many false members he had detected. The Central Committee objected to this bureaucratic way of solving the task. They wanted thorough investigations, so that they could be sure that the members on the list were real members.
A new party card control.
The Central Committee had to conclude that the party card control
was risking to fail. On 27 June 1935 the Central Committee decided on a second
round of the party card control, which should now be carried out at general
membership meetings. All members were now given the opportunity to make
pronouncements against those whom they did not consider worthy to be party
members. Hereby, the matter changed completely. The Central Committee had been
publicly criticising the party secretaries for a job badly done. This
encouraged the members to demand criticism and self-criticism at the meetings,
whereby these turned into enormous places of debate. Those party secretaries
who had something to hide got frightened for a continued control which could
reveal faults in the local party leadership. Some tried to check the urge to
debate by telling that the campaign was a control of the party cards rather
than a purge. It was still not possible to completely stop the criticism of the
members. Getty in Origins of the Great
Purges gives us an interesting insight into the accusations at the
membership meeting of the
(Getty: Origins of the Great Purges)
Kulaks, traders, families 226
Degenerates, drunks, womanizers, violators of discipline 143
Official malfeasance, theft, embezzlement 106
Lost or dubious party cards 62
Trotskyists, Mensheviks etc. 28
White Army officers, Tsarist police 41
As can be seen, more than a third of the accusations concerns kulaks and men who enriched themselves during NEP (the new economic policy). Another third plus of the accusations pointed at people who had committed severe moral and economic crimes. Only a small part of the accusations, hardly five per cent, had to do with political opposition. Simultaneously, one of six accusations, (circa 17 per cent) related to the criminal activities of leading cadres and political civil servants. On the national level, the party card control resulted in the expulsion of 170,000 members out of the 1.8 million investigated, i.e. 9.1 per cent.
The party meetings during July 1935 became a forum in the campaign against arrogant party functionaries and other bullies. In spite of the circumstance that criticism and self-criticism was the policy of the party, it was not always certain that this was in fact applied at the ground level. But now, at least during a period, these circumstances changed radically in favour of the base members. Stalin pronounced himself on the need for criticism and self-criticism and pointed out the lack of criticism as a fatal mistake, which “destroyed the cadres” by not bringing up their faults to discussion. The control of the party cards 1935 also showed another very serious shortcoming of the party: It was easy to forge party cards, and they were not reliable. The need for new party cards was an issue demanding an immediate solution.
The campaign of lies of the bourgeoisie and the reality.
Let us now for a moment discuss some of the lies being divulged in
capitalist mass media about the control of 1935. As we can see in the examples
from the membership meetings in
Another lie is that the party card control would have been an act of
revenge by the party leadership – by which is meant Stalin of course – for the
Moreover, Conquest mixes up the party card control with the very events
connected with the police investigation of the assassination of
Note that the Zinoviev-Kamenev trial took place between 16th and 23rd January 1935. This was during the new registration of party members which had been decided in October 1934 and which, in January 1935 had almost died out without any result. The party card control, which according to Conquest was a revenge against the opposition, was a result of the earlier control having proved insufficient for the great problems revealed. It started only in June 1935, five months after the termination of the Zinoviev-Kamenev trial and after the prison sentences for the opposition. The party card control could not have influenced the trial, nor could it have been a revenge on the accused. Conquest is aware of the great ignorance about the historical questions of socialism and does not hesitate to use the ignorance of people to divulge his dirty propaganda.
Another lie originating from the police agent Robert Conquest is that
the objective for the control of 1935 was to eliminate the Old Bolsheviks. It
is the same old, recurring story about a power crazy Stalin wanting to
eliminating all the other Old Bolsheviks leaving him alone in power. The
elimination of old Communists is an invented story which has nothing to do with
reality. Arch Getty affirms in The Origins of the Great Purges that “Of the 455
expelled from the Smolensk City Committee, 235 had joined the party in 1929-
Getty says further “Although the Great Purges are often associated
with the decimation of the “Old Bolsheviks” the opposite seems to have been the
1936 – exchange.
After the control of the party cards in 1935 and as a consequence of
it, the Central Committee decided on an exchange of party cards for all party
members. There were efforts to have the party cards distributed to genuine
members only; devoted Communists who really did honour to their membership, as
far as possible. The directives of the Central Committee were very precise and
full of details which nobody was entitled to bypass. Firstly, no exchange of
party cards could take place until the control of
The exchange of party was not intended to additionally discover and expel party enemies in a new purge. The Central Committee focused on the opposite in its directive for the change of party cards: “If, in the proverka, party organisations paid special attention to the uncovering of hidden penetrations of the party by enemies, rogues, and swindlers, then, in the exchange, they must turn their principal attention toward freeing themselves of passive members not deserving the high title of member of the party; of the people who accidently find themselves in the VKP(b).”.
Merely two per cent expulsions.
The exchange of party cards was supposed to have taken place from
February to April 1936 but in some places it was terminated as late as November
1936. There are no national statistics on the members expelled during period,
but the figures from
The change of party cards in 1936 has also been used by Robert
Conquest and the other history falsifiers in the dirty war against socialism.
Conquest claims that there were massive purges undertaken during the exchange,
and that the purges were higher in number than any before in the party. All
this was, according Conquest, provoked by Stalin as a manoeuvre to ignite the
moods against the opposition awaiting the trials 19-24 August 1936 against the
Trotsky-Zinoviev centre where Zinoviev, Kamenev and Smirnov were the main
actors. They were, at the time, accused of having taken part in a conspiracy
led from abroad by Trotsky to kill the leading persons of the Soviet government
and grab power. Conquest’s allegations about mass expulsions 1936 have for many
years stood uncontradicted. The figures in Getty’s research in the
The political trials of
The political trials and the purges in the Communist party were two separate things which did not directly have anything to do with each other. The party members who were expelled and tried at court for having been involved in criminal or counter revolutionary activities were a small minority of all those who were expelled. In order to understand this, it is important to know the history of the political trials during the 1930-ies. Bourgeois history writings exclude such possibilities. They have made the events of the 1930-ies into a totally confused story and a grossly falsified mixture of happenings and myths, lies and half-truths, a falsification which presents the purges and the treason trials as the same one occurrence.
The political trials were started by the trial against the
Trotsky-Zinoviev centre in August 1936, the first of four between 1936 and
Englund’s stories have been taken from Conquest and writers paid by
the CIA. Englund himself is an ignorant wretch, who has no ambition to give the
Swedish readers knowledge of what really happened in the
In the so called
The background to the treason trials and party purges of 1936-1938.
The freedom period of 1920.
Bourgeois historians and petty bourgeois political activists of a “Socialist” or “Leftist” origin often describe the Soviet 1920-ies with some nostalgia as opposed to the “hard” 1930-ies. According to them the 1920-ies was the decade when freedom was ruling, there were discussions all around in society, arts and culture flourished and on the whole there were great opportunities for the individual to express him/herself and to influence the course of social development. This is a skewed representation of the historical development.
It is true that there was ample space during the 1920-ies for debate
and participation in extensive cultural activities, but this was not specific
for that decade. Parallel with the social development and the socialist
construction during the thirties ever larger sectors of the Soviet population
could take part of the political debate and of a rich cultural life in an
extent never before seen. This refers to the tens and tens of million people
who during this decade got access to the possibilities for culture, debate and
knowledge in the new, modern society. The few thousands of wise geniuses from
the “freedom era of the 1920-ies” could be good enough as it were. But this was
still only an extremely small privileged minority profiting from the cultural
possibilities and from the political debate. No comparison with the tens of
millions who got these possibilities during the great leap of the
Counteracted the introduction of Socialism.
What the bourgeoisie praises in the Soviet 1920-ies is not the
political debate and the cultural development but the possibility for the
political opposition to counteract the fight for Socialism. The bourgeoisie
praises not least the constant fractional activities which different opposition
groups devoted themselves to during the 1920-ies in the name of freedom of
debate. All these groups were constituted during all years by more or less the
same persons with people like Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Bukharin, Smirnov,
Rykov, Pyatakov, Radek and Sokolnikov heading a programme of counteracting the
introduction of Socialism. To the minority in the Central Committee the
possibility of introducing Socialism in the retarded
Another example of the character of the antagonisms is Bukharin’s
view on the development of country 1925. Bukharin, who was a member of the
Central Committee asked then the peasants, in a speech about agricultural
policy, to “enrich themselves”. This was hiss message concerning the potential
for agriculture to develop in the
Capitalism or Socialism.
The antagonism between opposition and the majority of the Central
Committee concerned the future of the country, either capitalism or Socialism.
This question was the principal one at the 14th party congress in
December 1925. The Congress declared that the Soviet Union “the country of the
proletarian dictatorship, has all needed to construct the perfect socialist
society” and further that the main task of the party was “the fight for the
victory of the construction of Socialism in the
Lack of education.
Another antagonism, one of a completely different kind, was also to
be found within the Communist party during the 1930-ies. As a legacy from the
1920-ies, when literacy was very low bureaucracy had a strong position within
the party. During the 1920-ies the party was compelled at times to be lenient
to get people who could read for the posts as party functionaries. Some of
these had unfortunately come to the party to acquire personal advantages. As
time went by, these party functionaries got more and more power and in some
cases the party bureaucracy was threat to the workers power in the party. The
lack of education among the workers also resulted in their oftentimes not
having the courage to attack functionaries who abused their power or were
corrupted, but alas how eloquent! After the party had definitely taken the road
of Socialism, after the 15th party congress in December 1927, when
the opposition was politically annihilated, the struggle between the workers’
power and the bureaucracy within the party apparatus was put on the agenda.
Prominent persons in this struggle were Stalin, Sjadanov and other comrades in
the Central Committee of the party. Kirov who was assassinated seven years
later, on December 1st 1934, was one of these. According to Stalin
struggle was about the “thinking of the people”. Stalin explained together with
Struggle against the bureaucracy in the party apparatus.
At the 17th congress of the party in January 1934 the issue of struggle against the bureaucracy had a space reserved. The party leadership was fighting for a renewal of the Communist ideals by calling for studies, self-criticism, reorganisation and attacks against bureaucracy at all levels in the party. The congress took part at a time when fantastic results were attained in the industrial production and collective farms and was named the “congress of victory” in history. Stalin summarised the situation in his speech to the congress: “During this period, the U.S.S.R. has become radically transformed and has cast off the aspect of backwardness and mediaevalism. From an agrarian country it has become an industrial country. From a country of small individual agriculture it has become a country of collective, large-scale mechanized agriculture. From an ignorant, illiterate and uncultured country it has become – or rather it is becoming – a literate and cultured country covered by a vast network of higher, secondary and elementary schools functioning in the languages of the nationalities of the U.S.S.R.”.
Following the murder of
In many quarters there were demands from the members, and the new strains were not always welcome by the regional leaderships. The purges started to pull along increasing numbers of local party leaders accused of abuse of power or just passivity and ignorance. But in many places the Central Committee failed to penetrate the problems. The calls to party members to purge corrupt or uninterested party leaders were only partially successful, sometimes not at all. The local party apparatuses showed a great capacity of defence against criticism from the members.
The successes of the
Soviet Union and the threat from Nazi
That is how the political situation presented itself in the Soviet
Communist party in the middle of the thirties. The party had led the
Results of the elections
The five biggest parties.
Unemployment under this years.
1924 1928 1930 1931 1932 1932 1932 1934
20 May 14 Sept. 31 July 6 Nov.
Social-democrats 9,1 8,6 8,0 7,3
Communists 3,3 4,6 5,3 6,0
Centrists 4,7 5,2 5,8 5,3
Nationalists 4,4 2,5 2,2 3,0
Nazis 0,8 6,4 13,7 11,7
Results of the elections
Number of members of parliament.
1928 1930 1932 1932 1933
20 May 14 Sept. 31 July 6 Nov. 4 Mars
Social-democrats 153 143 133 121 120
Communists 54 77 89 100 81
Centrists 62 68 75 71 73
Nationalists 73 41 37 51 52
Nazis 12 10 7 230 196 288
Bavarian Peoples Party 16 19 22 19 19
Other Parties 28 49 9 9 7
Total 491 577 608 582 647
Please note that Hitler came to power on 30th January
1933 and that the elections on 4th March 1933 took place during
Nazism. They were the last elections with several parties. The Communists of
DKP had been mendaciously accused of the German house of parliament fire in
Nazi Germany was a threat against the
The trial against the Trotskyite-Zinovievist centre 19-24 August 1936.
(The Zinoviev-Kamenev process)
After the trial against the murderer of Kirov, Nikolajev, and the
In the middle of 1935 another process of investigation was opened
against formerly highly positioned politicians and administrators in the
Zinoviev-Kamenev group and its activities during earlier years. The process
resulted in the trial against the Trotskyite-Zinovievist centre or “
During the interrogation Kamenev explained this with his own words.
“… However, our banking on the insuperability of the difficulties which the country was experiencing, on the state of crisis of its economy, on the collapse of the economic policy of the Party leadership had obviously failed by the second half of 1932. Overcoming the difficulties, the country, under the leadership of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U, was successfully advancing along the road of economic growth. We could not help seeing this. One would have thought that we should have stopped fighting. But the logic of the counter-revolutionary struggle, the nakedly unprincipled striving to seize power led us in the other direction. The emergence from the difficulties, the victory of the policy of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U., caused us a new wave of animosity and hatred towards the leaders of the Party, and primarily towards Stalin.”.
The common denominator for those accused was that anything was
permitted in order to combat Stalin’s government or, as Zinoviev said during
one of the secret meetings of the group in 1932, “… although terror is
incompatible with Marxism, at the present moment these considerations must be
Among other things, the accused confessed that it was the
Trotskyite-Zinovievist centre, which
had prepared and carried out the murder of
During the trial, which was public and witnessed by the diplomatic
corps as well as the international press and where all the accused could always
speak freely, many unexpected revelations were disclosed. It came out, for
instance, that the leading personality of the conspiracy was Trotsky, who from
abroad was sending directives and demanding attempts on the lives of members of
the Soviet government and acts of sabotage and terror. According to the story
delivered by the accused at court, Trotsky came several times from the exile to
Three of the sixteen accused in the Trotskyite-Zinovievist centre (I. Smirnov, Dreitzer,
Goltsman) were repeatedly in
During the trial it was revealed that leading personalities of the terror centre, Zinoviev, Kamenev and Reingold had been in touch with highly positioned members of the Soviet Communist party in order to collaborate politically with a conspiratory purpose. This was something sensational. Could it come about that high party functionaries would conspire against the Communist party? A conspiracy with sabotage, terror and murder? Because of this revelation the prosecutor Vyshinsky informed during the very trial, 21st August, “I consider it necessary to inform the Court that yesterday I gave orders to institute an investigation of these statements of the accused in regard to Tomsky, Rykov, Bukharin, Uglanov, Radek and Pyatakov, and that in accordance with the results of this investigation the office of the State Attorney will institute legal proceedings in this matter. In regard to Serebryakov and Sokolnikov, the investigating authorities are already in possession of material convicting these persons of counter-revolutionary crimes, and, in view of this, criminal proceedings are being instituted against Sokolnikov and Serebryakov.”. General Putna too, an old Trotskyite, was pointed out during the trial as having been active in the terrorist activities of the Trotskyistes.
The diplomatic corps present at the trial, a congregation of genuine
bourgeois and anti-socialist individuals, never doubted the veracity of the
trial, its impartiality and fairness. An internationally well known lawyer of
the period, the judge Denis Nowell Pritt, member of the British Parliament, was
present during the whole trial and later wrote about it in the
Later, in a brochure entitled “The Moscow Trial was Fair” judge Pritt
publicly challenged those who doubted the genuineness of the trial. Today, it
is of a special historical interest to present the opinion of judge Pritt. The
campaigns of lies against the
“I studied the legal procedure in criminal cases in Soviet Russia somewhat carefully in 1932, and concluded (as published at the time in "Twelve Studies in Soviet Russia") that the procedure gave the ordinal accused a very fair trial. Having learnt from my legal friends in Moscow on my return this summer that the principal changes realised or shortly impending were all in the direction of giving greater independence to the Bar and the judges and greater facilities to the accused, I was particularly interested to be able to attend the trial of Zinoviev and Kamenev and others which took place on August 1936. Here was, born the point of view of a lawyer, a politician, or an ordinary citizen, a very good test of the system. The charge was a serious one. A group of men, almost all having earned high merit for their services at various stages of the anxious and crowded history of Soviet Russia, still not two decades old, almost all having been under some measure of suspicion for counter-revolutionary or deviationist activities, and most of them having had such activities condoned in the past on assurances of the loyalty in the future, were now charged with long, cold-blooded, deliberate conspiracy to bring about the assassination of Kirov (who was actually murdered in December, 1934), of Stalin, of Voroshilov and other prominent leaders. Their purpose, it seemed, was merely to seize power for themselves, without any pretence that they had any substantial following in the country and without any real policy or philosophy to replace the existing Soviet Socialism. With all its difficulties and shortcomings, with all the opposition, military or commercial, of the outside world, Soviet Socialism has raised a terribly backward Asiatic State in some 19 years to a State of world importance, of great industrial strength, and above all of a standard of living which, starting somewhere about the level of the more depressed peoples of India, has already overtaken that of many races of Eastern Europe and will soon claim comparison with that of the most favoured of Western industrial people.
And the charge against the men was not merely made. It was admitted,
admitted by men the majority of whom were shown by their records to be
possessed of physical and moral courage well adapted to protect them from
confessing under pressure. And at no stage was any suggestion made by any of
them that any sort of improper treatment had been used to persuade them to
confess. The first thing that struck me, as an English lawyer, was the almost
free-and-easy dameanour of the prisoners. They all looked well; they all got up
and spoke, even at length, whenever they wanted to do so (for the matter of
that, they strolled out, with a guard, when they wanted to). The one or two
witnesses who were called by the prosecution were cross-examined by the
prisoners who were affected by their evidence, with the same freedom as would
have been the case in
It may be of interest to know what the Swedish embassy in
“Submitted to the Royal by His Majesty’s diplomatic representation
Eric Gyllenstierna (Ambassador)
Concerning the inquisition within the Communist party
(11 pages, this being the final part of page 10, my note, M.S.)
Perhaps it should be noted towards the end –although it could be an act of exaggeration– that the cock-and-bull stories, which have been so freely disseminated in the foreign press and could give a naïve general population the impression that the whole Soviet realm were in the process of collapse, that these and similar media excesses are devoid of any support in reality, even if one could, in singular instances, imagine tracing some connection between the battle paintings by the foreign press and certain facts in the Soviet Union.”
The inflammatory propaganda by the Capitalist countries against the
Soviet Union during the days of the trial took such proportions in organised
campaigns in the press that the Swedish Moscow embassy felt compelled to deny
them to the Department of Foreign Affairs, in order to avoid to great errors of judgement of the
Légation de Suède
The great trial of conspiracy
(8 pages, this being page 3, my note, M. S.)
By that it is not implied, of course, that the accused (Zinoviev and Kamenev, my note M. S.) can be freed from every suspicion of having nurtured more or less well defined plans for the overthrow of the present, hated leaders of government with Stalin on top to grip the power for themselves. That the application of such plans in a certain conspiracy activity to the extent of using terrorism has at least been talked over by the inner circles of those dissatisfied individuals, also appears probable.
Eric Gyllenstierna (Ambassador)”
Court Proceedings against the Anti-Soviet Trotskyite Centre January 23-30 1937
(The Pyatakov-Radek trial)
A living party in the hands of the base members was not a welcome
idea in some quarters. A genuine workers’ party was a threat to the political
opposition within the party, which had allied itself with the Trotsky group
abroad. The conspiracy against the party leadership had continued in secret
ever since the political defeat at the party referendum of 1927. But after the
At the same time the successes in the economic life of the country including the results of the first five years plan and the collective farms had shattered the unity of the conspiracy group. Some of those who had been striving for years in secret to defeat the Soviet government and the socialist societal development could not help but be impressed by the production results, which proved the correctness of the Central Committee policies. It was now not just a question of theories, but one could in fact se the results in real life. The divisions within the conspiracy group resulted in the political police obtaining an increasing knowledge of the activities of the group. Repenting conspirators gave information with unforeseen consequences.
In January 1937 there was a lot of commotion in Moscow after
seventeen highly positioned functionaries of the Soviet state had been brought
to trial before the military board of the Soviet superior court accused of
treason (Pyatakov, Sokolnikov, Radek, Serebryakov, Livshitz, Muralov, Drobnis,
Boguslavsky, Knyazev, Rataichak, Norkin, Shestov, Turok, Hrasche, Pushin,
Stroilov and Arnold). The principal characters constituting the very centre of
the organisation were Pyatakov, Sokolnikov, Radek and Serebryakov. During the
public trial in
The interrogation during the public trial of Pyatakov, the principal
leader of the group, is of particular interest. Pyatakov was remorseful and
felt cheated by Trotsky and understood well that his crime was such that
nothing could save him from the capital punishment. Pyatakov produced at court
detailed information about the terrorist conspiracy which he led together with
Radek, Smirnov and Serebryakov. Pyatakov was an old Trotskyist who in 1928 had
left the group of Trotsky. In 1931 Pyatakov was a highly positioned functionary
of state in the
Pyatakov told at court that he was recruited back to the Trotskyite organisation by I. Smirnov whom he knew well from the Trotskyite workings during the 1920-ies. It happened during an official trip to Berlin Spring/Summer 1931, where Pyatakov spent some months. Pyatakov’s brief this time was to buy heavy machines and lifts for the Soviet coal-mining industry. Ivan Smirnov was also a member of the Soviet delegation. During his period as a Red Army officer he had a leading position in the guard of Trotsky. Other Trotskyists like Loginov, Moskalov and Shestov were part of the Soviet delegation. The policy of the Soviet government after the hard fights against the opposition in the end of the 1920-ies giving a new chance to all those opposing the socialist construction was not very successful. All these Trotskyists and others belonging to the political right and the so called left within of the party, which had fought the Soviet government, were allowed to keep or got back their highly positioned posts, which caused considerable damage to the Soviet union during the 1930-ies.
Smirnov profited from his duty travels to
Sedov incites to theft.
Towards the end of this meeting Sedov told clearly that Trotsky had put the question of Pyatakov’s readiness to join their struggle. Pyatakov had answered in the affirmative. The prosecutor at the trial asked Pyatakov:
”Vyshinsky: How is it to be explained that you so quickly consented to resume this fight against the Party and the Soviet government?
Pyatakov: The talk with Sedov was not the cause of this, it only served as a fresh impetus.
Vyshinsky: Consequently, you held your old Trotskyite position even before this?
Pyatakov: Unquestionably, the old Trotskyite views still survive in me, and they subsequently grew more and more”.
In that way Pyatakov established contact anew with Trotsky. Before Pyatakov left Berlin Sedov insisted on meeting Pyatakov once more. Referring to this brief meeting Pyatakov told the court that Sedov had been very direct declaring ”money is needed. You can provide the necessary funds for waging the fight”. Pyatakov continued telling of Sedov’s proposal.
”Pyatakov: He was hinting that my business position enable me to set aside certain government funds, or, to put it bluntly, to steal. Sedov said that only one thing was required of me, namely, that I should place as many orders as possible with two German firms, Borsig and Demag, and that he, Sedov, would arrange to receive the necessary sums from them, bearing in mind that I would not be particularly exacting as to prices. If this were deciphered it was clear that the additions to prices that would be made on the Soviet orders would pass wholly or in part into Trotsky’s hands for his counter-revolutionary purposes”.
Subsequently Pyatakov tried to implement Sedov’s requests.
It may be interesting to recall that one of these orders from the
Spring of 1931, which was supposed to reinforce Trotsky’s cash, never came off.
The story has been told earlier in “Lies concerning the history of the
Littlepage writes: ”It naturally wasn’t my business to warn my Communist employers against their fellow Party members, but some Russians can bear witness that I mentioned my suspicions to them as early as 1932, after I had worked for some months in the Ural copper-mines”.
The copper mines were part of the great copper-lead trust having as its topmost chief Pyatakov, deputy people’s commissioner for the heavy industry. The state of the mines was a disaster both in relation to the production and the welfare of the workers. Littlepage’s conclusion was that the sabotages were organised by the highest leadership of the copper-lead trust.
Pyatakov organizes the Trotskyist centre and sabotage.
In the Soviet Union Pyatakov worked on organising a new
counter-revolutionary centre to function as a reserve to Zinoviev-Kamenev’s
organisation in case this fell into the hands of the police. Later, Pyatakov’s
organisation with the approval of Trotsky became a purely Troskyist centre, the
so called parallel centre, an alternative to the activities of Zinoviev and the
old party left. The activities of the parallel centre spread from
Pyatakov: ”I have already testified that wrecking activities were
developed in the
The West-Siberian Trotskyite group carried on active wrecking work in the coal industry. This activity was carried on by Shestov and his group. There was a fairly large group there which chiefly worked along the lines of causing fires in the coking-coal mines. Wrecking work was conducted in the Kemerovo Combined Chemical Works. At first the work consisted in delaying the putting into operation of newly-built units, funds were diffused on secondary units, with the result that vast structures were in a perpetual state of construction and were not brought to a state where they could be put into operation. With regard to electric power stations, work was performed aiming at reducing the effective power resources of the whole Kuznetsk area.”
”In the Urals there were two main objects on which wrecking activities were concentrated. One was the copper industry and the other was the Urals Car Construction Works. In the copper industry efforts were chiefly directed towards preventing the copper plants that were in operation from being utilised to their full capacity. The Krassno-Uralsk Copper Works and the Karabash Copper Works did not fulfil their program of production; there was a tremendous waste of the copper delivered to the works and there were tremendous losses. The Karabash Works were in a perpetually feverish state. At the Kalatinsk Works the concentration plant worked badly all the time; wrecking activities were being carried on there too… In the main this work was carried on by Kolegayev – the manager of the Central Urals Copper Trust”.
During the trial Pyatakov continues his description of the sabotages and demonstrates that most often the heads he had installed at the factories were the ones leading the destructive activities. With regard to the industry of defence Pyatakov entrusted Norkin ”that preparations must be made so that the enterprises in the defence industry could be put out of action by means of incendiarism and explosions”. Little by little, however, Pyatakov and Radek turned hesitant. The reason was that Trotsky in his instructions to Pyatakov and Radek expressed the opinion that the Trotskyite parallel centre ”were just talking” and demanded that ”definite acts should be committed both in the way of terrorism and wrecking”. According to Trotsky’s letter this was ”not something fortuitous not simply one of the sharp methods of struggle he proposed, but an essential part” of his policies.
And Pyatakov goes on. ”In the same directive he raised the question – this was in the middle or 1934 – that now that Hitler had come to power it was quite clear that his, Trotsky’s line on the impossibility of building up socialism in one country alone had been completely justified, that war was inevitable, and that if we Trotskyites wished to preserve ourselves as a political force of some sort, we must in advance, having adopted a defeatist position, not merely passively observe and contemplate, but actively prepare the way for this defeat. But in order to do so, cadres must be formed, and cadres could not be formed by talk alone. Therefore the necessary wrecking activities must be carried on now. I recall that Trotsky said in this directive that without the necessary support from foreign states, a government of the bloc could neither come to power nor hold power. (by bloc is meant the opposition in a body lead by the Trotskyists, my comment M.S.) It was therefore a question of arriving at the necessary preliminary agreement with the most aggressive foreign states, like Germany and Japan, and the he, Trotsky, on his part had already taken the necessary steps in establishing contacts bothe with the Japanese and the German governments”.
With Trotsky’s directive a new possibility emerged as an alternative
for the Trotskyite organisation to take over power. It was no longer the case
that they would cause a political instability in the country merely by killing
important personalities in the Central Committee and government and by
committing acts of sabotage. Now that was something new! Now, the Trotskyite
organisation would work for the defeat of the
When asked by the prosecutor Vyshinsky, Pyatakov’s foremost
confidant Radek, answered that Trotsky’s directives concerning the Trotskyite
bloc’s take over at the defeat of the
Further on Radek told that Trotsky in his letters had explained that
”territorial concessions would probably be necessary … it was a question of
satisfying German expansion in the
Pyatakov and Radek were astonished and frightened at Trotsky’s
directives and decided to ask for a personal encounter with him. The
opportunity presented itself in December 1935 when Pyatakov went to
But Trotsky went even further. He demanded from Pyatakov that the
parallel centre should ”train cadres for the event of war, that is to say, to
train diversionists and those who would engage in destruction, helpers for the
fascist attack on the
Pyatakov told the court that a new factor had entered with this conversation with Trotsky. ”Pyatakov: What was new, if you like, was formulated distinctly enough: in essence, the Trotskyite organisation was being transformed into an appendage of fascism. To me it became clear only then”. Pyatakov goes on telling the court that the conversation with Trotsky, ”caused an unpleasant reaction both in Radek and in me, and we thought of doing something: but we did not reject it, and continued to carry on with what we were doing”, and Pyatakov realised ”that we had got into a blind alley”.
The Trotskyite parallel centre continued to carry out Trotsky’s requests, now they had got to carry out attempts to kill leading members of the Central Committee – Stalin, Molotov, Kaganovitj, Vorosjilov, Ordzjonikidze and others. Pyatakov related all this at the public trial in front of the international press and the diplomatic corps. The activities of the parallel centre continued until the beginning of 1936 when it was discovered and its members arrested.
The reports about Trotsky’s collaboration with the Nazi party and
Gestapo are received with great scepticism by to-day’s Trotskyites as well as
their liberal and anti-Communist admirers. They do not want to accept facts
delivered at several public trials. But one does not need to keep only to the
public statements at the trials to reach the conclusion that Trotsky and
Gestapo collaborated. Since 1934 Nazi Germany had become complete police state
where several thousand German Communists had already been killed just a year
after the Nazi take over and where another tens of thousands of Communists were
locked up in the German concentration camps. Nothing happened in Nazi Germany
without Gestapo’s permission. Absolutely no political activities and least of
all such in which Russian revolutionaries were involved. The vast organisational
work, which Leo Sedov devoted himself to could only take place with the
permission by and in collaboration with Gestapo and with their money and
material aid. In the
The verdict against the members of the Trotskyite centre was pronounced on 30th January 1937 at three a.m. Thirteen of the accused —Pyatakov, Serebryakov, Muralov, Drobnis, Livshitz, Boguslavsky, Knyazev, Rataichak, Norkin, Shestov, Turok, Pushin, and Harsche — were convicted to the highest penalty, execution by a firing squad. Three of the accused —Radek, Sokolnikov and Arnold— were convicted to ten years imprisonment. Stroilov was convicted to eight years imprisonment. Those convicted to imprisonment were deprived of their political rights for five years after the term. All those convicted got their private property confiscated.
A witness to the trial who has left a very extensive material about
this and other subjects concerning the situation in the Soviet Union 1936 to
1938 is Joseph E. Davies, the
Joseph Davies was not a professional diplomat but a lawyer,
capitalist and businessman. He was a man from the capitalist establishment of
Concerning the trial against the Pyatakov-Radek group Davies wrote
on 17th February
“With an interpreter at my side, I followed the testimony carefully. Naturally I must confess that I was predisposed against the credibility of the testimony of these defendants. The unanimity of their confessions, the fact of their long imprisonment (incommunicado) with the possibility of duress and coercion extending to themselves or their families, all gave me grave doubts as to the reliability that could attach to their statements. Viewed objectively, however, and based upon my experience in the trial of cases and the application of the tests of credibility which past experience had afforded me, I arrived at the reluctant conclusion that the state had established its case, at least to the extent of proving the existence of a widespread conspiracy and plot among the political leaders against the Soviet government, and which under their statutes established the crimes set forth in the indictment”.
It may be of interest to know what the bourgeoisie has got to say
about the treason trial in February 1937. As usual, the main book of the
bourgeoisie is The great terror by
the police agent Robert Conquest. Other so called authors in
Conquest writes: ”The sacrifice of Pyatakov is perhaps the clearest
sign of Stalin’s motives. He had been, it was true, an oppositionist, and an
important one. But he had abandoned opposition in 1928 and had worked with
complete loyalty ever since…What was there to be said against him? … He had
been a major critic of Stalin’s in the 1920s. He had made it clear that he
regarded his rise to power as unfortunate. Above all, he was even now, whatever
his own desires, leadership timber.”.
We have already read about Pyatakov’s “complete loyalty” in the minutes of the
trial. But even Conquests allegation that Pyatakov “still” would be “leadership
timber” has nothing to do with reality. At this time the opposition had been
politically vanquished long ago and had no political influence in the
According to conquest, the treason trial was just a way for Stalin
to get rid of yet some potential rivals, naturally, in order to remain in power
himself! For those who have knowledge of Pyatakov’s testimony at the public
trial, Conquest’s writings appear ridiculous. Littlepage’s book from 1939 also
crushes Conquest’s lies, revealing Pyatakov as a thief and saboteur. Still, the
myths of Conquest are the ones given publicity in mass media influencing people
who are unprepared. Such are the myths served by the upper class to the people.
Within the circles of the same upper class the language was and is different.
Let us consider a confidential document by the Swedish ambassador to
“Légation de Suède
Some comments on the confessions in the latest Trotsky trial. (6 pages)
“It was striking, that the accused, with few exceptions, in spite of the long period of detention and the exacting mental –and probably in most cases also physical– torture they had undergone, did not appear particularly depressed or dejected. Rather, they seemed to be lively and alert; one or two among them even had a faint smile on his lips.”
“It is difficult to find a psychologically satisfying explanation to the behaviour of the accused and their efforts to produce the best possible collaboration with the prosecutor. Like during earlier trials of the same kind, one has been lost in different guesses about this. As you may know, even the hypothesis has been put forth that the accused have been subjected to some narcotic or hypnotic influence –a hypothesis which, lacking any evidence, will be left without consideration for the time being.
The most commonly accepted explanation is that the hope of saving one’s own life, or at least that of some close family member, has been decisive for the strangely passive behaviour of the accused vis-à-vis the prosecutor, and the grotesque enthusiasm for confessions would derive from a pure instinct of survival. As for myself, I have doubts about this explanation. The experience from the Zinoviev and other similar trials should have provided the insight, that not event the most frenetical self accusations and blaming of the co-accused sufficed to move the court to mildness in the punishment.
Moreover, it did not appear as if the majority of the accused, when stating their confessions, were motivated by a fawning eagerness to please the court and those in power. Their entire conduct, as I have endeavoured to hint, contradicts this assumption. --- Suffice, it is not worth the while to try and penetrate to the bottom of this mystery of confessions. It is and will probably remain an unsolvable, psychological riddle.
According to Ambassador Gyllenstierna the accused in the Pyatakov trial were “lively and alert; one or two among them even had a faint smile on his lips” when they were interrogated and confessed their crimes. The accused could, moreover, talked freely and confessed their crimes which for the Ambassador was “an unsolvable, psychological riddle.” It never fell Gyllenstierna in that the accused were in fact guilty and that they choose to confess their crimes confronted by the strong evidence of the prosecutor. But Gyllenstierna is not the only one. With few exceptions the whole of the united bourgeois class and its scribes were, just as they are now, completely perplex at the confession by the accused. When the subject has been brought up during the years as when new research has been presented or a new book published, new theories have been formulated just to explain away the fact that the accused were in fact guilty of they crimes they had been accused of.
The last in the series of sometimes totally unprecedented theories
without any foundation except the imagination of the author can be read in Arch
Getty’s latest book The Road to Terror,
Stalin and the Self-Destruction of the Bolsheviks, 1932-1939. Professor Getty who has been one of the few
serious bourgeois researchers of the topic of
Professor Getty cannot accept the simple fact that the accused were
guilty. Such things are not “as they should be” in the academic circles where
Getty belongs, where an inimical and prejudiced attitude towards the
Getty’s intrigues and follies
Furthermore, one has to point out that most of the accused in the
Is this history? To make us believe that all is so simple, that the
nomenclature present 60 years ago is the same which in 1990 sold the country to
the capital? To make a 60 years long leap and close the eyes for everything
that happened in the meantime just to make one’s “theory” land? To close one’s
eyes for all class struggle in the fight for Socialism and a society without
classes. And not the least to close the eyes to the greatest tragedy of
mankind, World War II against Nazism and Fascism. A war which to a great extent
was fought and won by the Soviet Union and where many of the best Communists
and young people gave their lives for freedom not just for their own country
but for the whole mankind. A war which had demanded a decade of work fighting
against time and which had left vast areas of the Soviet Union in ashes and
with enormous social and economical problems. Can one disregard all this? Could
it be that the greatest tragedy of mankind had no influence on the social
development of the country where it had taken place? With The Road to Terror Getty has created an acceptable product for the
ruling capitalist class. He questions some old lies about the
In the middle of 1937 it was clear that to great problems had to be
taken very seriously and that a solution of them was a must if Socialism was to
continue being built in the
The Central Committee convened in a meeting in February
During the meeting of the Central Committee Stalin gave a very
important speech entitled ”Defects in party work and measures for liquidating
Trotskyites and other double-dealers”.
This speech and Stalin’s “Speech in Reply to Debate” at the meeting are
fundamental documents for all that seriously want to get into the question of
the occurrences in the
During his speech, Stalin turned to the others comrades of the Central Committee with the question how it was possible for foreign agents, Trotskyistes and their political allies, to penetrate the economical and administrative organisations of the Soviet state as well as the party organisations and carry out sabotage, espionage and damage. Moreover, Stalin asked how it had come about that these alien elements had managed to get responsible positions and even some help from some leading comrades to snatch the responsible positions.
Stalin went on to present a list of sabotage and espionage during the preceding years and the warning letter of the Central Committee to the party organisations and continued:
”The facts shows that our comrades reacted to these signals and warnings very slowly. This is eloquently show by all the known facts that have emerged from the campaign of verifying and exchanging Party documents. How are we to explain the fact that these warnings and signals did not have the required effect? … Perhaps our Party comrades have deteriorated, have become less class-conscious and less disciplined? No, of course not! Perhaps they have begun to degenerate? Again, of course not! There are no grounds whatever for such an assumption. What is the matter then? Whence this heedlessness, carelessness, complacency, blindness? The matter is that our comrades carried away by economic campaigns and by colossal successes on the front of economic construction, simply forgot about certain very important facts which Bolsheviks have no right to forget. They forgot about the main fact in the international position of the U.S.S.R. … They forgot that the Soviet power is victorious only on one-sixth of the globe … there are, besides, many other countries, bourgeois countries, which continue to lead the capitalist mode of life and which surround the Soviet Union, waiting for an opportunity to attack her, to crush her, or, at all events, to undermine her might and weaken her”.
Stalin then went on to point out the relationships between the capitalist countries.
”It has been proved as definitely as twice two are four that the
bourgeois states send to each other spies, wreckers, diversionists, and
sometimes also assassins, instruct them to penetrate into the institutions and
enterprises of these states, set up their agencies and ”in case of necessity”
disrupt their rear, in order to weaken them and to undermine their strength. …
These were, according to Stalin important circumstances which the leading comrades had forgotten, and that was the reason why the sabotages and espionage being unexpected for many of them. The economical achievements explained the laxity and carelessness. The really great steps forward in the socialist construction resulted in a tendency to boasting, a tendency to overestimate the power on one’s own side and to underestimate that of the enemy. The great successes gives rise to an ”atmosphere of success-success after success, achievement after achievement, overfulfilment of plan after overfulfilment of plans – gives rise to carelessness and self-satisfaction, creates an atmosphere of showy triumphs and mutual congratulations, which kills th sense of proportion and dulls political intuition, takes the spring out of people and causes them to rest on their laurels”.
The capitalist encircling?
And Stalin continues ironically to present the thoughts on the
subject of a local, party functionary. ”Capitalist encirclement? Oh, that’s
nothing! What does capitalist encirclement matter if we are fulfilling an
overfulfilling our economic plans? The new forms of wrecking, the struggle
against Trotskyism? Mere trifles! What do these trifles matter if we are
fulfilling and overfulfilling our economic plans? The Party Rules, electing
Party bodies, Party leaders reporting to the Party members? Is there really any
need for all this? Is it worth while bothering about all these trifles if our
economy is growing and the material conditions of the workers and peasants are
becoming better and better? Mere trifles! The plans are being overfulfilling,
our Party is not a bad one, the Central Committee of the Party is also not a
bad one – what else do we need? They are some funny people sitting there in
Party courses and Lenin courses
elaborates upon a number of errors in the party work and the measures he
regards as being necessary to correct the errors that have arisen. He concludes
by presenting a proposal for organised studies for leading party cadres, from
cell leaders to leaders for the regions and the party organisations of the
Soviet republics. ”For the Party instruction and the re-training of secretaries
of Party organisations (cells), four months’ ”Party courses” should be
established in every Regional centre”. ”For the political re-training of first
secretaries of District organisations, eight months’ ”Lenin courses” should be
established in, say, ten of the most important centres in the U.R.S.S.”. ”For
the ideological re-training and political improvement of secretaries of city
organisations, six months’ “Courses for the study of Party history and policy”
under the C.C. of the C.P.S.U.(b) should be established”. “Finally, a six
months’ “Conference on questions of internal and international policy” under de
C.C. of the C.P.S.U.(b) should be established. The first secretaries of
Regional and Territorial organisations and of Central Committees of national
Communist Parties should be sent here.”
Studies is the right way to solve the problems and the contradictions in the
party; a line which Stalin,
In the “Speech in reply to debate” Stalin brought up some important controversies, which had emerged during the debate. Among other things Stalin pointed out that those who had once been Trotskyistes or Trotsky sympathisers but who had changed since then and worked well being loyal to the party were not targets in the fight against the Trotskyite wrong-doers and spies. “In this matter, as in all others, an individual, discriminate approach is required. You cannot measure everybody with the same yardstick”.
The other questions in the epilogue were all focused at a sharp criticism of the relationships of party functionaries with the base members. Stalin did not mince his words. He started by criticising the selection of party functionaries. “Most often, (party)workers are chosen not for objective reasons, but for casual, subjective, philistine, petty bourgeois reasons. Most often, so-called acquaintances, friends, fellow-townsmen, personally devoted people, masters in the art of praising their chiefs are chosen without regard for their political and business fitness. Naturally, instead of a leading group of responsible workers we get a little family of intimate people, an artel, the members of which try to live in peace, try not to offend each other, not to wash dirty linen in public, to praise each other, and from time to time send vapid and sickening reports to the centre about successes. It is not difficult to understand that in such a family atmosphere there can be no place for criticism of defects in the work, or for self-criticism by leaders of the work. Of course, such a family atmosphere creates a favourable medium for the cultivation of toadies, of people who lack a sense of self-respect, and therefore, have nothing in common with Bolshevism.”
Further on Stalin commented on the necessity of controlling the party functionaries not just by their superiors but, even more importantly, by the base members. “Some comrades think that people can be tested only from above, when leaders test those who are led by the results of their work. That is not true. Of course, testing from above is needed as one of the effective measures for testing people and verifying the fulfilment of tasks. But testing from above far from exhausts the whole business of testing. There is another kind of test, the test from below, when the masses, when those who are led, test the leaders, draw attention to their mistakes and indicate the way in which these mistakes may be rectified. This sort or testing is one of the most effective methods of testing people.”
Stalin also criticised strongly those who were unwilling to auto criticism with the argument that this would be taken as a weakness by the enemy and taken advantage of, and which could also lead to disorganisation and enfeablement. “That is nonsense, comrades, sheer nonsense. On the contrary, the open admission of our mistakes and their honest rectification can only strengthen our Party, raise the prestige of our Party … To spare and take care of cadres by glossing over their mistakes means killing these very cadres for certain.” In the end Stalin urged the leaders of the party organisations to listen to the voice of the masses, a certain way of practising a correct leadership. He criticised firmly “the formal and heartlessly bureaucratic attitude of some of our Party comrades towards the fate of individual members of the Party, to the question of expelling members from the Party, or the question of reinstating expelled members of the Party.”
According to Stalin the leaders had to get to know the members, their development and way of life to be able to make a fair and individual judgement of each one. Lacking such knowledge “they usually act in a haphazard way: either they praise them wholesale, without measure, or roundly abuse them, also wholesale and without measure, and expel thousands and tens of thousands of members from the Party”. Stalin opposed all expulsions for alleged passivity or for the members not having appropriated the party programme. Only tested and theoretically instructed Marxists could appropriate the party programme.
Stalin appealed to the leaders of the party to apply the Leninist formula for membership in the party according to which “a member of the Party is one who accepts the program of the Party, pays membership dues and works in one of its organisations.” No party member should be expelled for lacking a deep knowledge of the party programme or party policies. Stalin called it a heart-less policy and an enormous bureaucratism to exclude workers for small errors like being late to party meetings or unpaid party fees. Before the question of an expulsion was treated, a criticism, warning or a certain time be given to the person in question to allow him or her to improve. Party leaders were required to have a genuine concern for the members “this is exactly what some of our comrades lack”, Stalin concluded.
When Stalin’s speeches were published, they became the starting
point for a debate in the society, just like other speeches by Molotov,
During the entire 1930-ies the Central Committee had urged party
members to initiate criticism against the leadership and to denounce corrupt
and uninterested party secretaries. Now, at last, the discussion got underway!
Party meetings were organised everywhere in the society because of the February
meeting of the Central Committee. Meetings, which had been recently done away
with in a routine and bureaucratic fashion suspected of friendship corruption,
had to be repeated suddenly following massive demands by the members. The
Example in the district of Belyi
A typical example of the atmosphere in the working class after the
Central Committee meeting February 1937 must be told here. In the Belyi
district (Belyi Raion) a meeting took place to analyse the activities of the
party, a meeting which took four days. Minutes of the meeting are available in
The NKVD head in Belyi, Vinogradov, came to Kovalev’s help. He asked the party members not to discuss party work. According to him, the directives from the February meeting of the Central Committee meant that the members were to discuss the Spring’s sowing. Kovalev, on his part, tried to remit the criticism down to lower levels, the party cells. According to him, that was where the errors were to be sought, not in the district. Even Golovashenko, the representative of the obkom (the regional Committee) came to Kovalev’s aid. He tried to calm the debate and counter attacked the members who had been severely criticising Kovalev. But there was nothing that could help Kovalev. The criticism from the members continued without interruption during the entire meeting and the list of accusation grew long. The meeting ended by the members then and there giving Kovalev the foot electing Karpovsskij first secretary in the party district.
The history does not end here. The local NKVD head had tried to help Kovalev and so had the regional representative. A decision by the regional secretariat stopped the newly elected district Karpovsskij and proposed another member, Boradulin. A new, large membership meeting took place during which Boradulin was declared even more incompetent than Kovalev and where the members once more elected Karpovsskij district secretary. This occurred in spite of Karpovsskij urged the members to accept the proposal of the regional secretariat.
That was the atmosphere following the February meeting of the
Central Committee. With Stalin’s “Speech in reply to debate” in their hands the base members started
immediately to throw out careerists and corrupt bureaucrats electing their own
leaders irrespective of superior instances. It was a spontaneous struggle as is
clearly shown by the reports in the
One of the important resolutions passed at the February meeting of
the Central Committee was a to hold general party elections following a precise
and rigorous democratic regulation with secret ballot for election of persons.
Two weeks after the Central Committee meeting, 20th March
The elections took place during April 1937. The local leaderships
were widely criticised during the election meetings. Earlier, the party
meetings for discussion and criticism had been a forum to criticise the base
members for lack of party discipline or bad conduct. Now, the situation was
reversed. This time, the local leaderships were at the centre of criticism. As
a rule, many members were nominated to the party boards at the meetings. The
discussions were long and careful minutes were taken. The secret elections came
last. There are many documents in the
The national results of the party elections were reported in the press later. Among 54.000 party organisations, the election results of which were known in May 1937, the old leadership had been exchanged in 55 per cent. This was an incredible result. First of all it showed that the lack of confidence in the old leaderships was very great and secondly that the base members in practice had the collective strength needed to throw out politicians who were incompetent or abusing their power. Evidently, the Central Committee meeting had formulated a dissatisfaction which was already present.
The party elections, however, had another aspect too. Among the party leaders who were expelled most were active on local level, in the districts and cells, the level where ordinary members could easily decide what was right and wrong and discover corruption, abuse of power or sabotage. Higher up in the municipal and regional Committees the party elections did not give similar results. The regional party leaderships showed a great competence in surviving criticism. Cases of corrupt politicians at regional level, which were known, acting like little kings, managed to get the vote to their advantage. The base members did not have the same possibilities to evaluate the events around these leaders as around the local ones. There was yet another factor speaking against the base members. Corrupt and incompetent regional and municipal secretaries always surrounded themselves with a group who supported them in all weathers. It was not easy for the base members to penetrate all this seeking the truth.
But the struggle against the bureaucracy and corruption within the Communist Party continued on higher levels too. In the beginning of June the annual regional party conferences started as usual. These conferences were not accorded any particular importance, they were usually discussing reports concerning the work of the regional leaderships. This time, however, something new occurred. Even at the regional conferences the party leaders were criticised. The party central knew that it would be much more difficult for the base members to make their voices heard at the regional level. This time the party central decided to send representatives from the Central Committee to the regional conferences. These representatives came, sometime totally unannounced, took a seat and participated in the discussions. This had the effect of tipping scales at several regional conferences to the disadvantage of the regional party leaders. Among the twenty-five regional conferences reported in the press, four ended by the party leadership having to leave. The problem had been remedied but in many quarters the regional satraps continued ruling and doing as they wished without caring for the party directives.
The military trial against the generals
It was at the moment for the regional party conferences when something decisive for the future of the country took place in the Soviet political life. On June 11, 1937, Pravda announced that Marshal Tukhachevskii and the generals Putna, Iakir, Uborevich, Feldman, Kork, Primakov and Eideman were arrested and charged with treason. These generals had been arrested in Mai 26th, 1937, charged of during a long time for “habitual and base betrayal of military secrets to a certain hostile Fascist power, and working as spies to encompass the downfall of the Soviet state and to restore capitalism.”
The conspiracy of the generals was the military part of the struggle of the opposition against the Soviet government. The treason trial of Pyatakov-Radek had dealt a severe blow to the opposition, but the generals had not cancelled their plans for a coup d’etat. On the contrary they realised that any delay would be to their disadvantage. The plans were finalised already before; it was time to act. Following the trial of Pyatakov and the denouncement of the Bukharin-Rykov group, who were now under arrest, the military conspirators increased their efforts. Towards the end of March 1937 they decided on the time for the coup. It was to take place within six weeks or March 15th the latest.
Having knowledge of the plans for a coup the Soviet government acted
swiftly. On May 8th an important resolution was taken: the political
commissars were reinstated in the army at all levels. The system of political commissars
supervising the officers and the military decisions had been abandoned ten
years earlier, May 13th 1927, on
The Soviet government’s quick intervention this time averted the attempted coup d’etat against the Socialist Soviet Union, but the size of the conspiracy in the civilian society and among the military was not known in all its parts. The generals had a contact net with many important party functionaries and officers. There was a feeling of uncertainty and insecurity during the political life, which ensued. The total width of the conspiracy was not revealed until the Bukharin trial in 1938. For instance, the conspirators had already made up lists of thousands of party functionaries who were to be arrested and eliminated. The Socialist society however, could defend itself by following the traces left by the generals and the Pyatakov-group.
Before the military trials started, the evidence for the guilt of
the generals was submitted a vast number of officers, representatives of all
the military districts of the Soviet Union, at a big military conference in
The military trial against the general has been the subject of interminable speculations during the years, which have resulted in many crazy conclusions. All the speculations do have in common that there was in fact a conspiracy within the Soviet army to oust the government by force in a coup d’etat. Even the most reactionary interpreters of history admit that there was such a conspiracy. The difference between the authors is revealed only when one looks at who were allegedly the allies of the generals in this conspiracy. The historical research of later years has, however, confirmed the accusation of the Soviet government, namely that Tukhachevskii and his group had sought support from Nazi Germany for its coup d’etat and that the groups of Pyatakov and Bukharin were part of the conspiracy.
In 1937 an attempted coup in
From similar situations in history we know that this type of events
leads to confusion, whereby the rank and file follow their commanders without
having much opportunity to consider the correctness of their action. If the
coup d’etat of the generals had come off, one could have expected a minor war
with devastating consequences. This was also what the conspirators were hoping
for. In order for them to reach a final victory exterior assistance was
indispensable. That assistance could come from the strong military states,
which had for a long time been threatening the Soviet Union: Nazi Germany,
The regional party meetings and the struggle against counter-revolution
In June 1937 the situation in
Ivan Petrovich Rumiantsev was an “old Bolshevik” who had joined the
party as early as
The conditions had changed radically prior to the meeting of June 19-21, 1937. It was not only due to the presence of Kaganovich and his support of the critical voices. Another matter was of an even greater importance to the members being so outspoken. It turned out that one of the conspiring and condemned generals, Uborevich, was a member of the regional Committee collaborating optimally with Rumiantsev. There were suspicions that Rumiantsev was one of the high party functionaries who were involved in the military conspiracy. Old injustices committed by Rumiantsev and his group against individual members were brought to light without pardon.
The situation for the leadership of the Western region became increasingly glum. Among other questions the dismissal of the party secretary Kovalev was brought out. Kovalev had been kicked out by the party members at the membership meeting in the district of Belyi but he got a comfortable job for his retirement by … Rumiantsev. Now the members brought up what had happened and they were of the opinion that it was Rumiantsev who had shaped Kovalev’s behaviour against the will of the party members. He was the one causing the transgressions and abuse of power in the district of Belyi. By using such familyness and patronage, Rumiantsev had “suppressed criticism and self-criticism, creating a circle of ‘his people’ ”. The list of accusations of corruption and omnipotence against the leadership of the Western region grew ever longer. As a consequence, the whole leadership was dismissed at the meeting. At a subsequent investigation, Rumiantsev and his group were arrested, accused of corruption and abuse of power.
The Central Committee launches a vast counter attack
In July 1937 the Central Committee had collected sufficient evidence
of the military conspiracy having been part of a scheme involving many high
party functionaries. The situation was extremely serious. Even in the Central
Committee itself there were corrupt members involved in the conspiracy. The
construction of Socialism bore with it consequences which some old Bolsheviks
and newer high party functionaries could not accept. The distant and somewhat
romantic picture of worker’s power during the days of the revolution 1917 had
now become reality in the
The task to follow up the traces of the attempted coup by the
traitors was handled by the security police NKVD under the leadership of Ezhov.
All over the country people who were known to have had connections with the
conspirators in the group of Pyatakov or the generals were investigated. Many
were arrested. The political situation was insecure and the foreign links of
the conspirators still unclear in their entity. The generals had divulged
secrets about the defence of the
Nazism wins in
The purges hit the highest ranks
The purges in the party got momentum after the Central Committee had questioned the loyalty of the regional party leaders to Socialism. The party meetings were strongly influenced by the tense situation in the community, and the base members turned more and more vociferous against corrupted and inefficient functionaries. People who considered themselves totally protected all of a sudden where thrown out from a directing role to the party masses some were directly delivered to justice for their crimes. Bourgeois history in the West talks of terror against leading functionaries and company administrators, people who had much better economic conditions than most. “Nobody could sleep in their beds”, say the Bourgeois historians.
But why should
one not question individuals who had traded the property of the people “under
the table”, who had used the money of the state for business of their own and
who had liberally handed out presents and bribes to friends and acquaintances?
Why should one be particularly considerate to party leaders who used power to
oppress base members and mistreat them? Why should one not persecute generals
and other high officers who had betrayed the secrets of the country and
collaborated with the enemy? Why should they go free or be treated better than
other criminals? In the
historians have had much to say about the persecutions of “the old Bolsheviks”,
allegedly those most affected by the purges. Research into the
A comparison between the years 1934 and 1937 also yields an interesting result. The number of “old Bolsheviks” was 182,600 at the 17th Party congress in 1934. At the 18th party congress 1939 they had diminished to 125,700. The reduction of “old Bolsheviks” during these five years, all causes included, even natural death and diseases, was 56,900 or approximately 31 per cent. A part of these 56,900, and probably a big part, were expelled during the purge 1937. But still in 1939 125,700 “old Bolsheviks” were active, and the majority in leading positions in the party, all over the country. The myth that “Stalin had exterminated the “old Bolsheviks” is nothing but a myth, yet another lie by Conquest-CIA once initiated by Trotsky.
Research also shows that most of those expelled during this time were people from the leading circles of the party. Let us give a concrete example from the party district of Belyi. Out of 244 members and candidates in the party organisation of Belyi 36 were expelled during 1937. 29 of those expelled were in leading positions. Two first party secretaries of district committees, one chairman and two deputy chairmen of the district soviet executive committee, one Komsomol district secretary, the district prosecutor, the chief of the district NKVD and one of his fellow officers, the directors of the three largest schools in the district, the head of the district land office, the director of the Belyi Machine Tractor Station, four heads of industrial undertaking, two heads of trade organisations, five collective-farms chairmen and five chairmen of the rural soviets.
The myth about the terrible year 1937 which the bourgeoisie has made one of its top items, not surprisingly through the police agent Robert Conquest and CIA / MI5, the true fathers of the myth are unmasked by the statistics about the purges during the whole of the 1930-ies.
Party expulsions by year
Operation Number expelled Percent of party
1929 170.000 11
1933 792.000 18.5
1935 170.000 9
1936 -- --
1937 100.000 5
1938 70.000 2
Note! There are
no national statistics for
statistics one can perceive the dimension of the bourgeois lie. In fact, 1937
was one of the years of the lowest number of people expelled, not more than
five per cent! How comes, that the bourgeoisie and its lackeys have transformed
1937 into the “Stalin’s incredible year of 1937 with “millions false
accusations, millions deported, millions murdered”
as Peter Englund likes to formulate it. Which are the interests behind this? We
understand that in such a mass movement of criticism and self-criticism with
millions of people involved, wrong decisions have been made and innocent people
affected. But such things occurred at earlier purges too. Tens of thousands
party members had expelled on the wrong grounds and got their membership back
after simply having appealed to the party central. These injustices which
affected ordinary workers, more than others, are of no interest to the West.
How to explain such an interest for 1937? Why precisely 1937 taken as the worst
that befallen the
The explanation is related to class. The great difference between the purges of 1937 and other purges in the party is that during the other purges mainly base members, ordinary workers were expelled – they constituted up to 80 per cent of all those expelled. The relationship was just the opposite 1937. Of all those expelled around 80 per cent were corrupted party bigwigs and high level individuals of the army. These were people who had acquired privileges and financial advantages and who were prepared even to collaborate with Nazi Germany to keep them. These were people who did not mind stepping on the base members and who readily threw out those who did not accept the transgressions. In 1937 party functionaries and officers with inclinations to the West and a bourgeois thinking were kicked out. They lost their position of power, were thrown out from the party and brought to trial. We can understand the hatred of the bourgeoisie against the Soviet year of 1937.
The aim of the purges was to throw out corrupted bureaucrats and traitors in the party and army. Such a far reaching struggle with millions of party members involved could not be carried out without mistakes. Old personal contradictions could lead to unfair decisions. On the other hand a strong mistrust against all party cadres in a party organisation could easily spread when a highly positioned party functionary was proven to be corrupt bureaucrat. The Central Committee was aware of the difficulties and warned from the outset against exaggerations.
The struggle was
aimed at bureaucracy and treason and not against party cadres in leading
position in general. In some quarters this principle was difficult to apply.
Party members who, for instance, were working with white collar jobs and had
not shown a genuine interest for party life could easily be expelled in spite
of the loyalty to Socialism they had demonstrated in their work. The Central
Committee opposed this and corrected the injustices when they got the appeal of
those expelled. In October 1937 during a reception for technical cadres from
Donbas Stalin gave a statement in person against those who questioned all leading
cadres. According to Stalin the new technicians and economists of the
The security police NKVD and its head Ezhov, who had had an important role in the unveiling of the conspiracy in the army, were warned too by the Central Committee. The police could not put itself above the Socialist society but it was its servant only and had to respect socialist legislation. The work of the security police was important, it saved the country from civil war, but its power was submitted to the party of the workers and peasants. Within NKVD there were some forces headed by the member of the Central Committee Ezhov decide for themselves who was a counterrevolutionary and what characterised an enemy. These forces wanted far reaching purges, without consideration for the least error. They wanted to purge the party radically from everybody who showed the least insecurity or who was not totally dedicated. They would throw out everybody who in their neighbourhood or in their work had had dealings with corrupt bureaucrats or traitors. Evidently, this was a political issue to be decided upon by the Central Committee not by the security police. Ezhov was criticised strongly for sometimes having led NKVD into exaggerations in the hunt for traitors, exaggerations that meant that innocent people were imprisoned and submitted to severe hardships.
Further, there was a tendency in society and the mass media, not withstanding the criticism from the Central Committee to glorify NKVD and Ezhov’s actions. Stalin himself opposed this glorification. At the anniversary of NKVD 20th December 1937, which was celebrated with pomp at a public meeting in honour of the police force at the Bolshoi theatre, the chair of honour was empty. Stalin absented himself from the meeting and Mikoian had to act an improvised chairman of the meeting. The criticism against Ezhov and NKVD should be taken seriously. Stalin boycotted the NKVD meeting but demonstratively attended a musical concert at the Bolshoi later in the evening. The absence of Stalin must be considered in relation to the fact that he was often seen at meetings, everything from hero pilots, polar researchers and kolchos women to meetings with factory leaders or voters in his electorate.
Bukharin-Rykov’s treason trial 2-13th March 1938
February 1938 it was announced officially in the press that 21 important people
were to be tried at court for high treason. Among these there were nine former
members of the Central Committee and other highly positioned functionaries
(Bukharin, Rykov, Yagoda, Krestinsky, Rakovsky, Rosengoltz, Ivanov, Chernov,
Grin, Zelensky, Bessonov, Ikramov, Khodjayev, Sharangovich, Zubarev, Bulanov,
Levin, Pletnev, Kazakov, Maximov-Dikovsky, Kryuchkov).
They were accused of having constituted a group denominated the “Bloc of the
Rights and Trotskyites” to topple the government of the
Sabotage, terror, collaboration with Nazi Germany, Japan and England, attempts at the lives of outstanding members of the Central Committee of the Communist party and government, participation in the murder of Kirov, and murder of the author Maxim Gorky, his son Maxim Peshkov, the chairman of the security police Menzhinsky and the member of the polite bureau Kuibyshev were part of the activities of the group.
The accused had,
moreover, during many years had knowledge of the conspiracies revealed in the
trials of Zinoviev-Kamenev and Pyatakov-Radek, and they had had close
collaboration with theses groups. Moreover the accused had been part of the
conspiracy of the military and the attempted coup d’etat in May 1937. The most
important among the accused were Bukharin and Rykov, earlier members of the
Central Committee and Yagoda the former head of the Security police; people
with a political clout and power in society. But several of the other accused
were functionaries who had power over the socialist construction of the
Bukharin-Rykov trial was public and was eagerly monitored by the diplomatic
corps and the world press. As usual at Soviet trials all the accused were
present during the whole trial seated side by side. During the whole trial they
were fully free to talk at any time and to comment on the accounts of the
others and even to pose questions to the other accused when they deemed it
necessary. More than ever it is important today to have knowledge of this trial,
the accusations of the attorney and the responses of the accused as well the
possibilities to defence and freedom to speak. Knowing the facts is the best
way to fight the smear campaign of the right against the
In the continuation
we shall produce material from the minutes of the public trial which was
published in French, English and German in the
Such a work, with
facts on hand to present the Bukharin-Rykov trial (and Pyatakov-Radek) has
rarely been carried out. The opinions about these trials are time and time
again published in newly written books and articles in capitalist mass media.
But most of the time they are but simple copies of the books and articles of
police agents (like Conquest), Fascists or Trotskyites. The research into these
trials is practically zero. The author of this study could experience this
state of affairs, when he wanted to borrow the English edition of the minutes
of the trial concerning Pyatakov-Radek and Bukharin-Rykov at the University
During the trial
the accused admitted horrible crimes whereby sabotages against the production
apparatus was a wide spread practice. Chernov, People’s Commissar of
Agriculture of the U.S.S.R.,
earlier People’s Commissar of Trade of Ukraine,
told during the interrogation at court that he had got the task by Rykov to
carry out his work in
Chernov did so after his arrival in
But the activities of Chernov in
Chernov told at court “The
chief task assigned to me by the German intelligence service at that time was
to arrange to spoil grain within the country. This involved delaying the
construction of storehouses and elevators, so as to create a discrepancy
between the growing size of the grain collections and the available storage
space. In this way, two things would be achieved: firstly, the grain itself
would be spoilt; and, secondly, the indignation of the peasants would be
aroused, which was inevitable when they saw that grain was perishing. I was
also asked to arrange for the wholesale contamination of storehouses by pests,
and especially by corn beetle”.
All this horrible work of sabotage Chernov carried out for the Germans causing
great losses to the
Chernov also told at court of other parts of his counter revolutionary activities. Among other things to “muddling up seed affairs” by “mixing up sorted seed and thus lowering the harvest yield in the country” and when it came to cultivation “the idea was to plan the crop area incorrectly and thus place the collective farm peasants in such a position that they would be virtually unable to practise proper crop rotation”. This, according to Chernov had to “this would reduce the size of harvests in the country and at the same time rouse the indignation of the peasants”.
As regards the machine and tractor stations, “the aim was to put
tractors, harvester combines and agricultural machines out of commission, to
muddle the financial affairs of the machine and tractor stations”.
In relation to animal husbandry Rykov’s directives were among other things to
“to kill off pedigree breed-stock and to strive for a high cattle mortality, to
prevent the development of fodder resources and especially to infect cattle
artificially with various kinds of bacteria in order to increase their
To his aid in the sabotage work Chernov had the members of the right organisation
of the whole country. Among other things they saw to it that no remedies
against cattle epidemics were imported to
Allow us to give another example of the activities of a traitor. Zelensky himself told at court how he had been working for the secret police during the Tsar’s epoch denouncing his Communist party comrades for money. He was among those who managed to hide their past and continue to be active and make a career within the Communist party. He was recruited in 1929 to the organisation of Bukharin and Rykov by Smirnov. His first task was to sabotage the collectivisation of Middle Asia. He got the directive by Smirnov to “to preserve the big farms, meaning kulak farms” and “check and disrupt the organisation of collective farms”.
prosecutor Vyshinsky made a direct question about the sabotage of the butter
organised by the Right and Trotskyite bloc, Zelensky first tried to deny that
he knew it. But Vyshinsky continued to pose questions and at last, Zelensky had
to present the whole story. The right organisation saw to it that periodically
only high quality butter at a very high price was produced. This caused a great
dissatisfaction among the people. But it got worse. To be sure that they had
cased dissatisfaction, the members of the right organisation mixed nails and
glass in the butter “which hacked the throats and stomachs of our people”. Zelensky was responsible for these acts of sabotage and even for the
sabotage against eggs. According to Zelensky “in 1936 fifty carloads of eggs
were allowed to spoil” and leaving
Consider that Zelensky was the chairman of Centrosoyuz and that his
work was to provide the population with alimentation and other necessities.
Zelensky also told at court of his organising “freezing of trade by despatching
goods to the wrong districts or at the wrong times. For example, there were
cases when summer goods were sent in winter, and, vice versa, when winter goods
arrived in the shops in summer”,
such as felt boots in Summer and Summer shoes in Winter. Apart from this
Zelensky’s counter revolutionary activities extended to the embezzlement of
money from the great organisation Centrosoyuz and the use of the departments of
Centrosoyuz all over the country as a centre to organise counter
revolutionaries in secret. Zelensky also made use of his post as the chairman
of Centrosoyuz to enter in contact with the English Labour party and ask about
help in case of a rightist coup in the
The accounts of Chernov and Zelensky at court are horrible crimes against the working people. Yet, they are only a few of all the crimes committed by the organisation led by Bukharin and Rykov. Another of the accused, Ivanov, the second secretary of the party in North Caucasus, told at court of the assignments he had got by Bukharin “of proceeding to prepare the way through the forces of the Right organisations for the defeat of the Soviet power in case of intervention, in a war with the capitalist fascist states” and in this context to “give every assistance to the residential agent who will be sent there, so as to fulfil the requirements of the British Intelligence Service”. Ivanov did as he had been told by Bukharin and discovered that “the directions received from the British Intelligence Service fully coincided with the directions I received from the Right centre”.
Caucasus that “He said that the Right centre had an agreement with
that country about helping the Rights to overthrow the Soviet power and abort
helping the Rights to maintain the power seized”. In this agreement they had
“provided for securing the interests of British timber firms with timber of the
Ivanov also told at court that he had got the task by Bukharin to
set up a terrorist group in
Ivanov’s terrorist group also organised sabotage against the
But gradually Ivanov started to doubt the possibilities of winning this struggle, which he related to Bukharin. “I put it to Bukharin that the organisation was falling to pieces … and that here and there the masses themselves were exposing our followers. And I put it to him whether it did not follow from the situation that had developed in the country that we had suffered complete bankruptcy. … The whole organisation was in a state of fear; I would say that the activities of the Right were virtually on the eve of thorough exposure”.
Ivanov’s confession of his crimes was at the same time a very grave accusation against Bukharin sitting just a few steps from his chair in the hall of the court. The prosecutor Vyshinsky turned to Bukharin during the interrogation of Ivanov and took the opportunity to pose questions to Bukharin to confirm or deny the data provided by Ivanov.
“Vyshinsky: The accused Ivanov testified that you proposed that he
should form an organisation of Rights in the
Bukharin: He has got the dates mixed up.
Vyshinsky: First of all, do you confirm the fact itself?
Bukharin: I confirm the fact itself that I instructed him to form an organisation.
Vyshinsky: A secret one?
Bukharin: A secret, illegal, counter-revolutionary one. But at that period the acute struggle against the Party and the Soviet government had not taken the forms…
Vyshinsky: I am just now interested in the testimony of the accused
Ivanov, which the Court has heard. He says that Bukharin gave me, i.e., Ivanov,
instructions to proceed to form a secret organisation of Rights in the
Bukharin: That part I do confirm.
Vyshinsky: Consequently, in 1928 you had adopted the method of illegal, underground activities?
Bukharin: That was a moment of such transition…
Vyshinsky: I am not asking you when it was. Is this a fact, or not a fact?
Bukharin: That I confirm.
Vyshinsky: Did you also tell Ivanov at the time that a centre of the Right organisation was already functioning?
Bukharin: I did.
Vyshinsky: Consisting of whom?
Bukharin: Consisting of three persons: Tomsky, Rykov, and myself, Bukharin.
Vyshinsky: Did you tell him that this centre was preparing for the overthrow of the Soviet power?
Bukharin: I did, but this refers to a later period.
Vyshinsky: To which exactly?
Bukharin: I think it refers roughly to 1932-33.
Vyshinsky: That is, somewhat later. But the fact that you had such a conversation with Ivanov you do confirm?
Bukharin: I do. I do not remember the date, nor the month, but that was the general orientation of the Right centre.
Vyshinsky: And when did you raise the question of insurrectionary bands?
Bukharin: The adoption of violence roughly relates to 1932.
Vyshinsky: Ivanov states that he learnt from you of the existence of a bloc between the Trotskyistes, the Right groups and the nationalist groups. Do you corroborate this?
Bukharin: I do.
Vyshinsky: And did you know about the negotiations which Ivanov and others carried on with capitalist countries?
Bukharin: Yes, this was at a much later period.
Vyshinsky: Hence, Ivanov’s statements about connections with the British Intelligence Service…
Bukharin: I was totally uninformed about the Intelligence Service and about plans.
Vyshinsky: What were you informed about?
Bukharin: I informed Ivanov of the foreign-political orientation of the Right centre, I told him that in the fight against the Soviet power it was permissible to take advantage of a war situation, and a number of other things. In short, as one of the leaders of the Right centre, it was my duty to communicate our line to one of the leaders of the periphery centre. What was this line? Briefly, this line was that in the fight against the Soviet power it is permissible to utilise a war situation and to make certain concessions to capitalist states for the purpose of neutralising them, and sometimes for the purpose of obtaining their assistance.
Vyshinsky: In other words, orientation towards assistance from certain foreign states.
Bukharin: Yes, it can be put that way.
Vyshinsky: In other words, orientation towards the defeat of the U.S.S.R.
Bukharin: In general, summarised, I repeat, yes.”
Let us now proceed to the interrogation of the three main accused: Bukharin, Rykov and Yagoda. We start by Bukharin, the real ideological leader of the rightist centre which, together with Rykov, decided over the organising in practice. Suspicious history falsifiers have sometimes alleged that the prosecutor Vyshinsky lost in the discussion with Bukharin, that Bukharin had used the court to make a brilliant piece of propaganda for his political standpoints. It is easy to make the audience fall into this trap since extremely few people are familiar with the court proceedings. With the papers in your hands, judge for yourselves. Let us continue quoting the court protocols.
“Vyshinsky: Formulate briefly what exactly it is you plead guilty to.
Bukharin: Firstly, to belonging to the counter-revolutionary “bloc of Rights and Trotskyites.”
Vyshinsky: What aims were pursued by this counter-revolutionary organisation?
Bukharin: The principal aim it pursued although, so to speak, it did not fully realise it, and did not dot all the “i’s” – was essentially the aim of restoring capitalist relations in the U.R.S.S.
Vyshinsky: The overthrow of the Soviet power?
Bukharin: The overthrow of the Soviet power was a means to this end.
Vyshinsky: By means of?
Bukharin – As is known…
Vyshinsky: By means of forcible overthrow?
Bukharin: Yes, by means of the forcible overthrow of this power.
Vyshinsky: With the help of?
Bukharin: With the help of all the difficulties encountered by the Soviet power; in particular, with the help of a war which prognostically was in prospect.
Vyshinsky: Which was prognostically in prospect, with whose help?
Bukharin: With the help of foreign states.
Vyshinsky: On condition?
Bukharin: On condition, to put it concretely, of a number of concessions.
Vyshinsky: To the extent of…
Bukharin: To the extent of the cession of territory.
Vyshinsky: That is?
Bukharin – If all the “i’s” are dotted – on condition of the dismemberment of the U.S.S.R.
Vyshinsky: The severance of whole regions and republics from the U.S.S.R.?
Vyshinsky: For example?
Vyshinsky: In whose favour?
Bukharin: In favour of the corresponding states, whose geographical and political…
Vyshinsky: Which exactly?
Bukharin: In favour of
Bukharin told also under the interrogation that in summer 1934 he
got to know through Radek “that directions had been received from Trotsky, that
Trotsky was conducting negotiations with the Germans, that Trotsky had already
promised the Germans a number of territorial concession, including the
Further on in the public interrogation the prosecutor Vyshinsky proceeds to the question of attempts against leading members of the party.
“Vyshinsky: Did the bloc stand for the organisation of terrorist acts, the assassination of leaders of the Party and the Soviet government?
Bukharin: It did, and I think that the organisation of this must be dated back roughly to 1932, the autumn.
Vyshinsky: And what was your relation to the assassination of Sergei Mironovich Kirov? Was the assassination also committed with the knowledge and on the instructions of the “bloc of Rights and Trotskyites”?
Bukharin: That I did not know.
Vyshinsky: I ask you, was this assassination committed with the knowledge and on the instructions of the “bloc of Rights and Trotskyites”?
Bukharin: And I repeat that I do not know, Citizen Procurator.
Vyshinsky: You did not know about this specifically in relation to the assassination of S. M. Kirov?
Bukharin: Not specifically, but…
Vyshinsky: Permit me to question the accused Rykov.
The President: You may.
Vyshinsky: Accused Rykov, what do you know about the assassination of Sergei Mironovich Kirov?
Rykov: I know nothing about the participation of the Rights or the
Right part of the bloc in the assassination of
Vyshinsky: Were you connected with Yenukidze?
Rykov: With Yenukidze? Very little.
Vyshinsky: Was he a member of the “bloc of Rights and Trotskyites”?
Rykov: He was, since 1933.
Vyshinsky: Which part did he represent in this bloc, the Trotskyites or the Rights? To which did he gravitate?
Rykov: He must have represented the Right part.
Vyshinsky: Very well; please be seated. Permit me to question the accused Yagoda. Accused Yagoda, do you that Yenukidze, of whom the accused Rykov just spoke, represented the Right part of the bloc and that he had direct relation to the organisation of the assassination of Sergei Mironovich Kirov?
Yagoda: Both Rykov and Bukharin are telling lies. Rykov and Yenukidze were present at the meeting of the centre where the question of assassinating S. M. Kirov was discussed.
Vyshinsky: Did the Rights have any relation to this?
Yagoda: Direct relation, because it was a bloc of Rights and Trotskyites.
Vyshinsky: Did the accused Rykov and Bukharin in particular have any relation to the assassination?
Yagoda: Direct relation.
Vyshinsky: Did you, as a member of the “bloc of Rights and Trotskyites,” have any relation to this assassination?
Yagoda: I did.
Vyshinsky: Are Bukharin and Rykov telling the truth when they say that they knew nothing about it?
Yagoda: That cannot be so, because when Yenukidze told me that they,
that is, the “bloc of Rights and Trotskyites,” had decided at a joint meeting
to commit a terrorist act against
The revelation by
Yagoda of Bukharin and Rykov as partners in the murder of
“Bukharin: … I am an accuse person who must bear responsibility as a criminal, facing the Court of the proletarian country. … The Court and the public opinion of our country, like the public opinion of other countries, as far as progressive mankind is concerned, can judge how people sank to such depths, how we all became rabid counter-revolutionaries, traitors to the Socialist fatherland, and how we turn into spies, terrorists and restorers of capitalism, and what, in the end, were the ideas and political standpoint of the “bloc of Rights and Trotskyites.” We embarked on treachery, crime and treason. But for the sake of what did we embark on this? We turned into an insurrectionary band, we organised terrorist groups, engaged in wrecking activities, wanted to overthrow the valiant leadership of Stalin, the Soviet government of the proletariat.
Vyshinsky: Tell me, accused Bukharin, how all this took shape in practice in your anti-Soviet activities.
Bukharin: If my program stand were to be formulated practically, it would be, in the economic sphere, state capitalism, the prosperous muzhik individual, the curtailment of the collective farms, foreign concessions, surrender of the monopoly of foreign trade, and, as a result – the restoration of capitalism in the country.
Vyshinsky: What did your aims amount to? What general prognosis did you make?
Bukharin: The prognosis that there would be a heavy list toward capitalism.
Vyshinsky: And what transpired?
Bukharin: What transpired was quite different.
Vyshinsky: What transpired was the complete victory of Socialism.
Bukharin: The complete victory of Socialism.
Vyshinsky: And the complete collapse of your prognosis.
Bukharin: And the complete collapse of our prognosis.”
During the interrogation
of Bukharin new accusations against him came up, which, as the prosecutor
Vyshinsky said, asked for the guilty, not before the court that must considered
the prescription time, but the court of history that have no prescription time
and no pardon. This case concerned the events of 1918 around the peace treaty
“ Vyshinsky: And I ask you, did you have a plan for the arrest of Comrade Stalin in 1918?
Bukharin: Not of Stalin, but there was a plan for the arrest of Lenin, Stalin and Sverdlov.
Vyshinsky: And what about the assassination of Comrades Stalin, Lenin and Sverdlov?
Bukharin: Under no circumstances.”
prosecutor Vyshinsky asked the court to call the witnesses Yakovleva, Ossinsky
and Mantsev, three former active members of Bukharin’s fraction from that time
(1918) the so called leftist Communists as well as Karelin and Kamkov, two
former members of the Central Committee of the “leftist”-Social
revolutionaries. According to the prosecutor Vyshinsky the 1918 conspiracy had
been staged by Bukharin’s “leftist Communists”, the “leftist”-Social
revolutionaries and Trotsky’s group to hinder the peace agreement of
The refusal of
Trotsky to sign the peace treaty resulted in the German’s continued advance
All the witnesses told at court that a conspiracy by Bukharin’s and Trotsky’s groups together with the leftist Social revolutionaries had prepared the arrest of Lenin, Stalin and Sverdlov as well as a transformation of the government. Moreover these groups had agreed to “And if the struggle were to become more acute, we must not shrink even from their physical extermination.”, as formulated by the witness Yakovleva. Heading the conspiracy and being one of its main organisers and instigators was Bukharin. Bukharin admitted this at court but declared that there had been no decision taken on what was to be done with those arrested. We render the exchange of words between Vyshinsky and Bukharin after Vyshinsky had put the question of whom the conspirators were going to arrest in 1918.
“Bukharin: Lenin, Stalin and Sverdlov.
Vyshinsky: Also for 24 hours?
Bukharin: This formula was not employed then.
Vyshinsky: And how were they to be arrested? And what for?
Bukharin: In order to form a new government.
Vyshinsky: And what was to be done with the arrested?
Bukharin: There was no talk of physical extermination.
Vyshinsky: But it was not precluded?
Bukharin: On the contrary, we all thought that the safety of these persons must be guarded at all costs.
Vyshinsky: When a government is overthrown and arrested, are not forcible methods resorted to?
Vyshinsky: Did you envisage adoption forcible methods when making the arrest? Is this true or not?
Bukharin: It is.
Vyshinsky: But what do forcible methods involve? Did you determine that precisely?
Bukharin: No, we did not.
Vyshinsky: And so you decided to act as circumstances permitted and dictated?
Bukharin: Just so.
Vyshinsky: But circumstances might dictate very decisive action?
Bukharin: Yes, but the fact is that neither did the “Left Communists” hold a fatalistic standpoint, but reckoned with the circumstances. This did not mean that circumstances dictated anything and everything.
Vyshinsky: Let us for the present establish what is undisputed. Before the Brest-Litovsk Peace there was talk about the arrest of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin; after the Brest-Litovsk Peace there were negotiations about the arrest of Lenin, Stalin and Sverdlov and the forcible overthrow of the government. Is that correct?
Bukharin: It is correct on the whole.
Vyshinsky: Moreover, when the forcible overthrow of the Soviet power and the arrest of Comrades Lenin, Stalin and Sverdlov were spoken of, forcible methods were actually spoken of, but which exactly were not mentioned?
Bukharin: That is so. All that was said was that their safety must be guaranteed at all costs.
Vyshinsky: Witness Yakovleva, what do you say to this? Is Bukharin speaking the truth?
Yakovleva: I was present during his negotiations with the “Left” Socialist-Revolutionaries.
Vyshinsky: What did he tell you?
Yakovleva: He told me that such a possibility was not precluded.
Vyshinsky: What possibility?
Yakovleva: That the possibility of physical extermination, that is, assassination, was not precluded.”
The witness Jakovleva, one of Bukharin’s closes comrades 1918 was quite positive as to the course of events and what the discussion was about.
In the very centre of the rightist organisation consisting of Bukharin,
Rykov and Tomsky, Rykov was the foremost organiser of the practical activities.
Rykov set of his underground conspiracy against the Soviet government 1928. He
recruited highly positioned party functionaries like Yagoda, Antipov, Rasumov
and Rumiantsev to the counter revolutionary organisation, but they did not
overtly declare themselves as adherents to the party right. Rykov disclosed at
court how he and his best friend Bukharin (sitting next to him) were active in
organising the Kulak uprisings in Caucasus and
“Rykov: As soon as the line was adopted, corresponding
organisational an practical conclusions were drawn from it at once; that is to
say, a number of terrorist groups were formed. I myself gave a number or
terrorist instructions to a number of
persons, apart from those who stood close to me, like Nesterov and Radin. I
conveyed these instructions also to the nationalist organisation; I discussed the
question of terrorism with the members of the Pan-Tyurkic and Byelorussian
nationalist organisations, and soon the terrorist line and the corresponding
conclusions drawn from it were widely adopted. In addition to these discussions
on this question I had others. Nesterov later reported that on my instructions
an organisation had been formed in
Later on, in 1935, I had a talk about terrorism with Kotov, I had a talk about terrorist with Kotov, a leading member of the Moscow Right organisation. Approximately in 1934, I instructed my former secretary Artemenko to watch for passing government automobiles.
Other members of our counter-revolutionary organisation adopted similar measures. But we never passed any definite decision that such-and-such a member of the government is to be killed. The centre of the Right organisation never adopted such a decision; but its work consisted of preparing such an attitude towards terrorism and such a state of terrorist cadres as would enable such a decision to be carried out whenever the centre adopted one.
In this period also terrorist connections were established with the Socialist-Revolutionary Semyonov through Bukharin. I did not know Semyonov personally. Bukharin told me that through Semyonov he was preparing for an attempt on the life of Stalin.”
The prosecutor Vysijinskij wants this last allegation confirmed by Bukharin.
“Vyshinsky: And so, in 1932 you and Semyonov talked about this, that an attempt should be organised on the lives of Comrade Stalin and Comrade Kaganovich.
Bukharin: I did not say that it should; I am saying what happened.
Vyshinsky: I say that in 1932 you had a talk on this, that an attempt was being prepared on the lives of Comrades Stalin and Kaganovich.
Bukharin: If you formulate it like that, it gives it an absolutely concrete character.
Vyshinsky: Very concrete.
Bukharin: At that time we talked about terrorist acts against the leading men of the Party.
Vyshinsky: Was it a theoretical talk?
Bukharin: No. Organising groups is not a theoretical talk.
Vyshinsky: What did you talk about?
Bukharin: We talked about terrorist plans on the organisation of preparation to carry out this plan against members of the Political Bureau.
Vyshinsky: Including whom?
Bukharin: Including Stalin and Kaganovich.
Vyshinsky: That, then, is concrete.
Bukharin: Quite concrete. I wanted to decipher and say exactly what actually happened.
Vyshinsky: I ask the Court to permit me to read the testimony given by the accused Bukharin during the preliminary investigation.
The President: You may.
Vyshinsky: Pages 105-6; when the Procurator of the
Vyshinsky: This is right?
Vyshinsky: This precisely refers to 1932.
Bukharin: Quite true.
Vyshinsky: Thus, in 1932, you on the decision of the centre of the Right organisation instructed Semyonov to organise a terrorist group. Is that so, or not?
Bukharin: It is so.
Vyshinsky: Why did you instruct him to organise a terrorist group?
Bukharin: In order to commit terrorist acts.
Vyshinsky: Against whom?
Bukharin: Against members of the Political Bureau.
Vyshinsky: Including whom?
Bukharin: Including Stalin.”
During the interrogation Rykov also entered the question about collaboration with the Nazis.
“Rykov: Those who persist in their counter-revolutionary struggle resort to the measures, methods and allies that we resorted to in the period after1933. This refers to the “center’s” connections with the German fascists. Naturally, we, and I personally, tried to tone down our testimony on this question because this is a very bad thing. We depicted the situation so as to make it appear that we had not discussed these connections in the centre beforehand. Actually the situation was that Tomsky had taken the initiative. Bukharin and I heard about it afterwards. But all these are formal points, because all of us, I and Bukharin, never hesitated for a moment in deciding that Tomsky was right, and had he asked us, we would have said it was the proper thing to do.”
Another very important question raised by the prosecutor Vyshinsky with Rykov was, who they were who made up the bloc of the joint conspiracy, the so called contact centre.
“ Vyshinsky: This bloc, you said, included the Rights. Who else was included in this bloc?
Rykov: The Rights, the Trotskyites and the Zinovievites.”
“ Vyshinsky: Accused Krestinsky, do you know that the Trotskyites belonged to the “bloc of Rights and Trotskyites” of which we are speaking here?
Krestinsky: I learnt from Pyatakov, when he spoke to me about this in February 1935, that an organisation had been formed, which united the Rights, Trotskyites and military men, and which set itself the aim of preparing for a military coup. I also knew that the leading centre included Rykov, Bukharin, Rudzutak and Yagoda from the Rights, Tukhachevsky and Gamarnik from the military, and Pyatakov from the Trotskyites.
Vyshinsky: Were you personally a member of this centre?
Krestinsky: In 1937, after a number of arrests, this centre comprised Rosengoltz and myself from the Trotskyites, Rudzutak and Yagoda from the Rights, and Tukhachevsky and Gamarnik from the military group.”
In alliance with Tukhachevskii
During the ensuing interrogation Rykov confirmed the alliance with
the military and also told of
Tukhachevskii’s military group which “which aimed at taking advantage of
a war to overthrow the government”. It was “the idea of opening the front” for
The prosecutor Vyshinsky turned to Bukharin and put the question of which military were supposed to open the front. Bukharin replied that they were “Tukhachevsky, and Kork, if I am not mistaken; then the Trotskyites”. On a question by Vyshinsky Krestinsky explained that he had learned from Tukhachevskii that he was leaning on “among others, Yakir, Uborevich, Kork and Eidemann”. During the interrogation with Rykov the chairman of the court Ulrich intervened to put the question about the existence of provocateurs in the Communist organisations. Rykov confirmed that it was true the rightist organisation in Byelorussian in collaboration with the Polish Generalstaff had smuggled in provocateurs in foreign Communist organisations.
interrogation during the trial one gets an ever more distinct picture of the
treason being organised by the right. Consider that all these traitors had in
their time been leading personalities of the Soviet society. They did not
accept a political defeat but rather converted to fight Socialism on the side
of the counter-revolution. Rykov himself had once been the Chairman of the
Council of the People’s Commissaries, i.e. the prime-minister of the
The interrogation of Yagoda, former head of the security police OGPU, revealed horrible crimes. Yagoda entered Bukharin’s and Rykov’s secret right organisations 1928 via Rykov, with whom Yagoda had friendly relations. At that time Yagoda was deputy head of the secret police OGPU (later NKVD) and for that reason had exceptional possibilities to protect the right organisation from being detected or arrested and even possibilities to install people from the right organisation at leading posts. Yagoda made extensive use of these possibilities. Through his own post, as he was the head of the guard of Kremlin as well as troop detachments under his command, Yagoda became the key person of the coup d’etat being planned.
Like the others
of the right organisation Yagoda confessed that he had planned and carried out
sabotage, espionage and attempts to topple the Soviet power and reinstate
Capitalism. Yagoda also confessed that he had stolen big amounts of money,
which he had put at the disposal of Trotsky and that he was a co-culprit in the
preparations for the murder of
Gorky’s secretary told at court that he had got the assignment by Yagoda to
Maxim Gorky had
chronic tuberculosis since his youth. The next instruction from Yagoda to
Kryuchkov was to see to it that
Maxim Gorky and
his son Maxim Peshkov were not the only victims of Yagoda’s, Bukharin’s and
Rykov’s conspiracies with the help of the doctors. The politburo member
The assassination of the polite bureau member
All the accused in the treason trial of Bukharin-Rykov confessed their criminal acts in front of the court and told how everything had been agreed upon and carried out. There are thousands and thousands of facts revealed at the trial where the 21 accused were at total liberty to plead their cases and even deny their guilt. It happened that new data were presented about the course of events and that one or other of the accused felt he had been misled by the main personalities of the conspiracy and rose to declare this. During the speech for the defence by Bukharin towards the end of the trial one or other by the accused felt he had been misled by the leaders of the conspiracy and rose to declare this. During the Bukharin’s speech of defence, towards the end of the trial, when Bukharin denied that he “was one of the major organisers of espionage, on a par with Rykov”. Bukharin was interrupted and accused by Sharangovich with the words, “Stop lying, for once in your life at least. You are lying even now in Court.”
The prosecutor Vyshinsky, the top state prosecutor of the
The court condemned 18 of the accused to the hardest punishment of the law – execution and confiscation of all personal belongings (Bukharin, Rykov, Yagoda, Krestinsky, Rosengoltz, Ivanov, Chernov, Grinko, Zelensky, Ikramov, Khodjayev, Maximov-Dikovsky and Kryuchkov). The three remaining were sentenced to prison and the loss of their rights as citizens during five years after the expiry of the imprisonment as well as the confiscation of all their personal properties. (Pletnev 25 years, Rakovsky 20 years and Bessonov 15 years).
After having read
the minutes of the trial it is easy to understand that this was the only
correct end of this trial against traitors, spies and murderers. Some authors
oppose the death penalty, against the fact that 18 were condemned to death.
Today the death penalty is obsolete in human society. But over 60 years ago,
the death penalty was the usual punishment applied to high treason in the whole
world. But the death penalty in this context is not the true question raised by
the history falsifiers but only an excuse to get present day people to condemn
the trials of the 1930-ies. The question raised in reality by the critics
That is how the Swedish
writers Ahlmark, Skotte and Englund write in their books and magazines. But the
heroes of these history falsifiers are a group of criminals of the worst kind
who entered an alliance with Nazi Germany and the Fascist Japan to get at state
and admiring attitude of today’s bourgeois towards the condemned in
“Légation de Suede
What has been shown by the latest Trotsky process.
To His Excellency the Minister for foreign affairs
To which extent
the accused in the recently finished process against the “right and Trotsky
bloc” have been guilty to that of what they have been accused has never been
fully investigated. If truth has difficulties in being heard in the world then
that applies especially to
Also, of the
general atmosphere in the Soviet society after the
“Legation de Suède
About the terrorist purge.
Mr Sandler, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
There may be a
relationship with the high Summer temperature that sensational stories from the
through some “clarifying examples” and told of “unsuitable” persons and persons
with “a mediocre capacity” or such who “are not up to the mark” or the corrupt
people’s commissary who ”has been transferred from the commissariat to jail”
the ambassador continues to the cause of the purges. According to the raporteur
the opponents of the regime are given leave (“in reality relatively few in
number”), but to a greater extent they are thrown out those who have
distinguished themselves for abuse of power, disorder and incompetence and
shown themselves to be substandard and damaging. The Soviet government aspired
to a rejuvenation of the administration with people from the working classes
which was in fact done and the Swedish embassy report confirms that “what is
happening here in reality cannot and should not be regarded as signs of dissolution
and degeneration but on the contrary signs of a Socialist consolidation”. We
may add, that this was very important. The war was already coming with the
“But the important aspect of the, if one may say so, epidemic terror in the Soviet country, lies, as we have had reason to remind repeatedly, not in these single falls from high positions, which for an exterior observer naturally may offer a more shattering spectacle but in reality relatively few in number and representative mainly for the smallest group in society which is concerned by the terror. The importance lies in the ever since 1935 with varying force on-going mass purges through all branches of the administration, civilian, military, economic etc. and all strata of society. This procedure of purge which has not precedent is meant to eliminate the opponents of the present government, to which group belong the people in the highest positions and for that reason have had the deepest fall, and to purge as far as possible who either through corruption and abuse of power or incompetence have shown themselves to be substandard and damaging. This violent procedure is driven by a conscious effort to on the one hand social renovation and on the other a rejuvenation of the whole administration, an effort to introduce personnel taken from those social groups which have essentially carried the revolution and nowadays have reasonable demands on enjoying the fruits of the new order. This means first and foremost the endeavour to select the ones, so to say, who have been brought up and educated in unmixed Soviet circumstances, the young age groups from the ranks of workers and peasants, who nowadays through the numerous high schools of different kinds, howsoever they may be otherwise, are thrown out into life and demand a place in the sun and the right to act … This should, in my opinion, be of importance even for practical reasons to note and even to remember, since this shows that what is happening here at present in reality cannot and should not be considered signs of dissolution and degeneration but on the contrary should be considered a socio-political consolidation, albeit from our points of view highly strange. And they are strange for the natural reason that the conditions prevailing in this country –historical, ethnographic, geographic etc.— are certainly strange.”
A person who was
present in the court-room all days during the trial was the
“Bukharin treason trial
Mach 8, 1938
For the last week, I have been attending daily sessions of the Bukharin treason trial. No doubt you have been following it in the press. It is terrific. I found it of much intellectual interest, because it brings back into play all the old faculties involved in assessing the credibility of witnesses and sifting the wheat from the chaff-the truth from the false-which I was called upon to use for so many years in the trial of cases, myself.
All the fundamental weaknesses and vices of human nature-personal ambitions at their worst-are shown up in the proceedings. They disclose the outlines of a plot which come very near to being successful in bringing about the overthrow of this government.
This testimony now makes clear what we could not understand and what
happened last spring and summer. You will recall that the folks at the chancery
were telling us of extraordinary activity around the Kremlin, when the gates
were closed to public; that there were indications of much agitation and a
changing of the character of the soldiers on guard. The new guards, you will
remember we were told, consisted almost entirely of soldiers recruited from
The extraordinary testimony of Krestinsky, Bukharin, and the rest would appear to indicate that the Kremlin’s fears were well justified. For it now seems that a plot existed in the beginning of November, 1936, to project a coup d’état, with Tukhachevsky at its head, for May of the following year. Apparently it was touch and go at that time whether it actually would be staged.
government acted with great vigor and speed. The Red Army generals were shot
and the whole party organisation was purged and thoroughly cleansed. Then it
came out that quite a few of those at the top were seriously infected with the
virus of the conspiracy to overthrow the government, and actually working with
the Secret Service organisations of
The situation explains the present official attitude of hostility toward foreigners, the closing of various foreign consulates in the country, and the like. Quite frankly, we can’t blame the powers-that-be much for reacting in this way if they believed what is now being divulged at the trial.
Again, it should be remembered that it cannot be conclusively assumed because these facts were adduced through statements of confessed criminals that they were therefore untrue.
I must stop now as the trial reconvenes at
This is how a
senior lawyer from the West writes about the Bukharin trial. Let us now quote
ambassador Davies’ confidential dispatch no. 1039 of 17th March 1938
to his superior the
“So-called Bukharin mass treason trial
To the honorable the secretary of state
prejudice arising from the confession evidence and a prejudice against a
judicial system which affords practically no protection for the accused, after
daily observation of the witnesses, their manner of testifying, the unconscious
corroborations which developed, and other facts in the course of trial,
together with others of which a judicial notice could be taken, it is my
opinion so far as the political defendants are concerned sufficient crimes
under Soviet law, among those charged in the indictment, were established by
the proof and beyond a reasonable doubt to justify the verdict of guilty of
treason and the adjudication of the punishment provided by Soviet criminal
statutes. The opinion of those diplomats who attended the trial most regularly
was general that the case had established the fact that there was a formidable
political opposition and an exceedingly serious plot, which explained to the
diplomats many of the hitherto unexplained developments of the last six months
Davies understood the size of the crimes of the accused, the consequences of
which could have been awfully dramatic. The Nazis were in fact marching in
Europe and in the midst of the judicial proceedings 11th March 1938
Nazi Germany occupied
The government of
The projection of it was decisive for the extermination of Nazism and the possibility of the world to enjoy the liberty and democracy we have today. Had the Nazis conquered The Soviet Union, they could have taken the whole world. But not only we Communists realise this and declare it openly. Honest bourgeois too, in this case, put themselves on the same side of the barricades as we ourselves.
Let us once more render a quotation from ambassador Joseph Davie’s
Ambassador Joseph Davies:
“Fifth Columnists in
A study in hindsight – 1941
Note: Although this was written after the German invasion of
On the train that day, that thought lingered in my mind. It was
rather extraordinary, when one stopped to think of it, that in this last Nazi
invasion, not a word had appeared of “inside work” back of the Russian lines.
There was no so-called “internal aggression” in
Thinking over the things, there came a flash in my mind of a
possible new significance to some of the things that happened in Russian when I
was there. Upon my arrival in
None of us in
Generally speaking, the well informed suspected such methods might be employed by Hitler; but it was one of those things which many thought just couldn’t really happen. It is only within the last two years, through the Dies Committee and the F.B.I., that there have been uncovered the activities of German organisations in this country and in South America, and that we have seen the actual work of German agents operating with traitors in Norway, Czechoslovakia, and Austria, who betrayed their country from within in co-operation with a planned Hitler attack.
These activities and methods, apparently, existed in
It was in 1936 that Hitler made his now famous
The Soviet government, it now appears, was even then acutely aware of the plans of the German high military and political commands and of the “inside work” being done in Russia, preparatory to German attack upon Russia.
As I ruminated over this situation, I suddenly saw the picture as I
should have seen it at the time. The story had been told in the so-called
treason or purge trials of 1937 and 1938 which I had attended and listened to.
In re-examining the record of these cases and also what I had written at the
time from this new angle, I found that practically every device of German Fifth
Columnist activity, as we now know it, was disclosed and laid bare by the
confessions and testimony elicited at these trials of self-confessed
It was clear that the Soviet government believed that these activities existed, was thoroughly alarmed, and had proceeded to crush them vigorously. By 1941, when the German invasion came, they had wiped out any Fifth Column which had been organised.
Another fact which was difficult to understand at the time, but
which takes on a new significance in view of developments, was the manner in
which the Soviet government was “bearing down” on consular agencies of
Ambassador Joseph Davies then goes on with his account by going through some court cases in the treason trials and finishes the chapter with the words:
“The testimony in these cases involve and incriminated General
Tukhachevsky and many high leaders in the army and in the navy. Shortly after
the Radek trial these men were arrested. Under the leadership of Tukhachevsky
these men were charged with having entered into an agreement to co-operate with
the German High Command in an attack upon the Soviet state. Numerous subversive
activities conducted in the army were disclosed by the testimony. Many of the
highest officers in the army, according to the testimony, had either been
corrupted or otherwise induced to enter into this conspiracy. According to the
testimony, complete co-operation had been established in each branch of the
service, the political revolutionary group, the military group, and the High
Commands of Germany and
Such was the story, as it was brought out in these trials, as to what had actually occurred. There can be no doubt but what the Kremlin authorities were greatly alarmed by these disclosures and the confessions of these defendants. The speed with which the government acted and the thoroughness with which they proceeded indicated that they believed them to be true. They proceeded to clean house and acted with the greatest of energy and precision. Voroshilov, Commander in Chief of the Red Army, said:
It is easier for a burglar to break into the house if he has an accomplice to let him in. We have taken care of the accomplices.
General Tukhachevsky did not go to the coronation in
There were no Fifth Columnists in
Davie’s account is more important today than ever. It poses the question about
the purges in the correct light. But it raises other questions too, which are
never treated by bourgeois historical writers. An important question in this
context is how it was at all possible for the Nazis to vanquish the great
Those who browse
through ordinary daily newspapers from the 1930-ies can easily see how the
threat against the
policies dominated in these countries. In
leadership had to realise that the country would perish unless they managed in
uniting everybody in the work for a quick development of the society and the
enormous necessary defence preparations which absorbed a large part of the
social production. In this strained social clime the soviet government
discovered that the countries threatening the
The Soviet government was hard on the traitors and the circles all
Let us return to
the beginning of this brochure to Merle Fainsod’s book
In fact the
political movement in the
“The evidence suggests that the Ezhovshchina (the time under
Ambassador Joseph Davies has few similar in the neo liberal society of today. A magnifying glass the size of a telescope is needed for to find an honest bourgeois intellectual today. Bourgeois mass media are dominated by clowns like Conquest, Skotte, Ahlmark, Englund and other greedy and unscrupulous “authors” filling the universities, the political editorial offices of the newspapers and not least the so called trusts meant to investigate the crimes of Communism. The bourgeois intellectuals of today remind us more than anything of spiritual dwarfs who, wielding their plastic cards, willingly listen to their master’s voice. The honest intellectuals who exist, in spite of all, seldom dare to lift their heads, they are almost always on the defensive and have difficulties in pointing out the impostors and call them history falsifiers as they are. Some more audacity and civil courage could give the public another understanding of the debate and lift it to a decent level. Moreover the passive submission of the intellectuals to the “market powers” constitutes yet another yoke on the workers. In order to liberate the workers from exploitation and the blunting of their intellect the conceited fools of the bourgeoisie must be fought. Knowledge of history is important to understand our present and to break the lies of the bourgeoisie! In the society of today only we Communists, with few exceptions, want to give back the knowledge of history to the working people. We shall not fail this duty.
Mário Sousa, 2001
Robert: The Great Terror – Stalin’s Purge
of the Thirties,
Correspondence from the Swedish Embassy in
Englund, Peter: ”Den otroliga bilden av Stalins
Englund, Peter: Brev från nollpunkten, Stockholm 1996.
Getty, J. Arch: Origins of the Great Purges – The Soviet
Communist Party Reconsidered, 1933-1938,
Getty, J. Arch
& Naumov, Oleg V.: The Road to Terror
– Stalin and the Self-destruction of the Bolsheviks, 1932-1939,
History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
(Bolsheviks), Swedish edition,
Hitler, Adolf: Mein Kampf,
I.: Collected Works. 30, September 1919 –
D.: In Search of Soviet Gold,
Nordisk Familjebok, band 19, Malmö 1933.
Pritt, D. N.: The Moscow Trial Was Fair, >http://www.geocities.com/redcomrades/mo-trial.html, 2005-07-21.
Report of Court Proceedings – The Case of the
Trotskyite-Zinovievite Terrorist Centre,
Report of Court Proceedings in the Case of the
Anti-Soviet Trotskyite Centre,
Report of Court Proceedings in the Case of the
Anti-Soviet “Bloc of Rights and Trotskyites”,
Sousa, Mario: Lies Concerning the History of the
Sovjetunionens kommunistiska partis (bolsjevikerna) historia, Stockholm 1972.
V.: Works, vol. 7, 1925,
V.: Works, vol. 12, April 1929 - June
V.: Works, vol. 13, July 1930 - January
V.: Problems of Leninism,
Stalin, Josef V.: Selected Works, Tirana 1979.
Tysklands kommunistiska parti och kampen mot fascismen perioden 1928-35, Stockholm 1974.
 J.V. Stalin, Works, vol. 12,
J.V. Stalin, Works,
J.V. Stalin, Problems
 Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf,
 J. Arch Getty & Oleg V. Naumov, The Road to Terror – Stalin and
the Self-Destruction of the Bolsheviks, 1932-1939,
 Ibid, p 27.
 Ibid, p 327.
 J. Arch Getty, Origins of the
Great Purges – The Soviet Communist Party Reconsidered, 1933-1938.
 Merle Fainsod,
 Getty 1985, p. 6
 Vladimir I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol 30,
 Getty 1985, p 46
 Ibid, p 47
 Ibid, p 46
 Peter Englund, ”Den otroliga bilden av Stalin
Peter Englund, Brev från nollpunkten, Stockholm 1996, p 72.
Robert Conquest, The Great Terror –
Stalin’s Purge of the Thirties,
 Getty 1985, p 54.
 Ibid, p 59.
 Ibid, p 61.
 Ibid, p 63.
 Ibid, p 69.
 Ibid, p 83.
 Ibid, p 85.
 Ibid, p 89.
 Englund 1996, p 66-67.
 J.V. Stalin, Works, vol. 7, 1925,
 Sovjetunionens kommunistiska partis (bolsjevikerna) historia, Stockholm 1972, page 349.
 J.V. Stalin, Problems of Leninism,
 Tysklands kommunistiska parti och kampen mot fascismens perioden 1928-1935, Stockholm 1974, p 21.
 Nordisk Familjebok, band 19, Malmö 1933, p 944.
of Court Proceedings – The Case of the Trotskyite-Zinovievit Terrorist Centre,
 Ibid, p 55.
 Ibid, p 180.
 Ibid, p 115-116.
 D. N. Pritt, The Moscow Trial was Fair,
 Correspondence from the Swedish Embassy in
 Report of Court Proceedings in the Case of
the Anti-Soviet Trotskyite Centre,
 Ibid, p 23.
 Ibid, p 25.
 Ibid, p 26.
 John D. Littlepage, In Search of Soviet Gold,
 Report of Court Proceedings 1937,pp 46-47.
 Ibid, p 50.
 Ibid, p 52.
 Ibid, pp 52-53.
 Ibid, p 55.
 Ibid, p 56.
 Ibid, p 58.
 Ibid, p 64.
 Ibid, p 62.
 Ibid, p 66.
 Ibid, pp 68-69.
 Ibid, p 579.
Joseph E. Davies,
 Ibid, p 43.
Robert Conquest, The Great Terror – Stalin’s
Purge of the Thirties.
 Correspondence from the Swedish embassy in
 Getty & Naumov 1999, pp 323-324.
 Ibid, p 586.
 J.V. Stalin, Selected Works, Tirana 1979, pp 421-455.
 Ibid, pp 423-424.
 Ibid, p 424.
 Ibid, p 431.
 Ibid, p 440.
 Ibid, p 443.
 Ibid, p 444.
 Ibid, p 446.
 Ibid, p 448.
 Ibid, p 452.
 Ibid, p 454.
 Ibid, p 455.
 Getty 1985, p 151.
 Davies 1941, p 152.
 Getty 1985, p 169.
 Ibid, p 176.
 Ibid, p 175.
 Ibid, p 177.
 Englund 1994, p 22; Englund, 1996, p 73.
 Getty 1985, p 175.
of Court Proceedings in the Case of the Anti-Soviet “Bloc of Rights and Trotskyites”,
 Ibid, p 106.
 Ibid, p 88.
 Ibid, p 91.
 Ibid, p 98.
 Ibid, p 93.
 Ibid, p 106.
 Ibid, p 102.
 Ibid, p 103.
 Ibid, p 322.
 Ibid, p 326
 Ibid, pp 327-328.
 Ibid, p 328.
 Ibid, pp 331-332.
 Ibid, p 333.
 Ibid, p 118.
 Ibid, pp 121-122.
 Ibid, pp 122-123.
 Ibid, p 123.
 Ibid, p 124.
 Ibid, p 126.
 Ibid, pp 128-137
 Ibid, p 370.
 Ibid, p 430.
 Ibid, pp 373-375.
 Ibid, p 379.
 Ibid, pp 377-378.
 Ibid, p 440.
 Ibid, pp 448-449
 Ibid, pp 169-170
 Ibid, p 170
 Ibid, pp 173-174.
 Ibid, p 178.
 Ibid, p 181.
 Ibid, pp 186-188
 Ibid, p 612.
 Ibid, p 770.
 Ibid, p 697.
 Correspondence from the Swedish Embassy in
 Davies 1941, p 269.
 Ibid, p 271.
 Ibid, pp 272-280